Manavaz Alexandrian

Nima Yushij
Hadi Shafaie)

Literature of Iran

Nima Yushij


Nima Yushij (1895-1959)

Ali Esfandiari, the leader of the modern Persian poetry whose pen-name was Nima Yushij, was born in Yush, Mazandaran Province, in 1895. Nima spent his childhood amid the simple rustic people of Green Mazandaran, which deeply influenced his poetry. He received education about western literature in a Saint Louis French school in Tehran. 

Although his early poems were based on classic style, from the beginning Nima showed the elements of modern poetry. In 1926 Nima married and settled in Yush as a provincial teacher. Later he moved to Tehran but each summer he visited his much loved native town. Only in his old years, Nima was acknowledged as founder of modern poetry and his works commended by important writers such as Jalal Ale Ahmad and Sadeq Hedayat. Younger poets then imitated his style and they adopted many of his innovations. Though he worked in seclusion, Nima was kind to younger poets who nowadays look at him as their master and guide.

Nima's Afsaneh was his first exertion to depart from classic poetry. Although his change was small in Afsaneh it caused a big revolution in the Persian poetry.

Nima Yushij died in 1959. His poems and letters were collected into a volume by Sharagim Yushij, his only surviving son, and many others. 

Afsaneh, Makhala, My Poem, The Bell, The Night Town, the Night Day, the Color of Scorpion and Other Outcries and Water in the Ants' Bedroom

The Soldier's Family
The candle burns, beside the curtain set,
So far this woman hasn't slept yet;
Over the cradle she leans (alone),
O wretched one, O wretched one.
A few rags form the curtain of the spouse
To protect the house.

For two days no food she has tasted,
With two kids, she hasn't rested;
One is ten, she is sleeping,
The other is awake and wailing.
She cries for her mother's milk which is small
This is another woe, (it is dismal).

The neighbor's child wears well,
She has her sports and eats well.
What difference is between these (I'm grieved)
What the other owns this one is bereaved.
A soldier's child dressed in rags (and gall)
Why must she live at all?

All she sees is but asperity
What she reads, breathes adversity;
Her back is bending, with all the load,
Her eyesight is dim in this abode;
Thus she labors like a man;
Thus she toils, the woman.


Contemporary Persian Poets


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