Monday, October 31, 2016

Music Monday: Hojjat Ashrafzadeh- Mah o Mahi

Every so often a song comes along that regardless of whether or not you understand the lyrics, it reaches the depths of your soul. Hojjat Ashrafzadeh’s Mâh o Mâhi is just that. In my opinion, this song is so heart-wrenchingly beautiful that I can’t even listen to it because it brings me to tears and throws me into a pit of depression (in a good way?). 

Other than its beauty, what drew me to the song was his mention of Neyshabur, which, being my mom’s hometown, holds a special place in my heart. The song also mentions mornings of Neyshabur, and completely unlike Corinne Bailey Rae's "Paris Nights and New York Mornings", the old Middle Eastern saying goes, sleeping in Baghdad and mornings in Neyshabur, or as I like to call it: Baghdad Nights and Neyshabur Mornings. And of course Neyshabur is the city of turquoise (firuze), another reference in this song.

In the first line, the moon, mâh, symbolizes beauty and freedom, and the fish symbolizes being trapped, almost a prisoner of the pool. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.

to mâhi o man mâhiye in berkeye kâshi // you're the moon and I'm the fish of this tiled pool 
to mâhi o man mâhiye in berkeye kâshi 

anduhe bozorgist, zamâni ke nabâshi // there is great sadness when you aren't here 
anduhe bozorgist, zamâni ke nabâshi 

âh az nafase pâke tovo sobhe Neyshabur // a sigh for your pure breath and mornings of Neyshabur  
az chashme tovo chashme tovo // of your eyes, your eyes
hojreye firuze tarâshi // and the chamber of turquoise shaping

pelki bezan ey makhzane asrâr ke har bâr // blink you treasure of secrets that every time
firuze vo almâs be âfâgh bepâshi // you pour turquoise and diamonds on the horizon
hargez be to dastam naresad mâhe bolandam // I can never reach you my high moon
anduhe bozorgist che bâshi che nabâshi // there is great sadness whether or not you are here

ey bâde saboksâr // oh free wind
ey bâde saboksâr // oh free wind
marâ bogzar o bogzâr // leave me and pass
marâ bogzar o bogzâr // leave me and pass 

hoshdâr ke ârâmeshe mâ râ nakharâshi // beware that you don't scratch our serenity

(Song repeats)



  1. Beautiful. This is a song I'd like to learn. The first Persian song I learnt was "Aftab Mahtab", a simple children's song that has upbeat other worldly feel to it. This isn't very cheerful but the expression of longing and loss is palpable. I'm confused by the last line. Oh, well. Good poetry is meant to be mulled over and over. Thanks for introducing us to such great stuff.

  2. That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing--I love how a great song can transport you out of reality into another world. Thanks for transcribing and translating the lyrics also. I can just see the moonlight shining on turquoise tiles...


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