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How does Sohrab perceive religion and

spirituality? Does he mock religion or
is there deeper spiritual meaning?
What is his message to you?
• Born in 1928 (1307), Kashan, Iran
• Primary education in Kashan
• Khayam Primary School and Pahlavi
High school
• 1943 moved to Tehran to attend
“Introductory College” - Daneshsaraye
Moghadamati –
• Sohrab returned to Kashan in 1945,
upon graduation from college
Sohrab’s Life
• 1946 first job in the “ Office of Education
and Culture,” Kashan
• His first collection of poems in 26 pages
– “By the Grass or the Cemetery of Love”
“‫“ در كنار چمن يا آرامگاه عشق‬
• Sohrab never talked about this collection
later during his life
• Sohrab resigned from his work a year later
Leaving Kashan
• Joined the Faculty of Fine Arts, University
of Tehran
• 1951 published “the Death of Colour” or
“‫“ مرگ رنگ‬
• Parts of this book were later re-published
in another collection: “Eight Books”
،‫جهان آسوده خوابيده است‬
‫ هر بانگ‬،‫فروبسته است وحشت در به روي هر تكان‬
‫چنان كه من به روي خويش‬
Poetry and Painting
• as a subjective artist, was always alternating
between poetry and painting to an extent that his
poems were similar to painting and his paintings
similar to poetry
• Both, in his poems as well as paintings, Sepehri
looked towards nature, illustrating it in one word or
in one line without entering into details
• Experts in poetry believe that he was deeply
influenced by Nima Yushij, the founder of neoteric
poetry in Iran
‫‪Poetry and Painting‬‬
‫آسمان‪ ،‬آبي‌تر •‬
‫آب آبي‌تر‬
‫من در ايوانم‪ ،‬رعنا سر حوض‬
‫رخت مي‌شويد رعنا‬
‫برگ‌ها مي‌ريزد‬
‫مادرم صبحي مي‌گفت‪ :‬موسم دلگيري است‬
‫من به او گفتم‪ :‬زندگاني سيبي است‪ ،‬گاز بايد زد با‬
‫زن همسايه در پنجره‌اش‪ ،‬تور مي‌بافد‪ ،‬مي‌خواند‬
‫من "ودا" مي‌خوانم‪ ،‬گاهي نيز‬
‫طرح مي‌ريزم سنگي‪ ،‬مرغي‪ ،‬ابري‬
‫آفتابي يكدست‬
‫سارها آمده‌اند‬
‫تازه لدن‌ها پيدا شده‌اند‬
‫من اناري را‪ ،‬مي‌كنم دانه‪ ،‬به دل مي‌گويم‬
‫خوب بود اين مردم‪ ،‬دانه‌هاي دلشان پيدا بود‬
‫مي‌پرد در چشمم آب انار‪ :‬اشك مي‌ريزم‬
‫مادرم مي‌خندد‬
‫رعنا هم‬
• with a brush that can
be defined as
extemporary painting,
he painted scenery,
desert views, gardens,
valleys, water eroded
mountain creeks,
rocks, geometrical
designs, squares and
tree trunks
Back to Biography
• 1955: Translated Japanese verses and
published in "Sokhan" (Speech) magazine
• 1957: Traveled to Europe via land, Paris
and London
• Paris Fine Arts School: Field of
• 1958: First Tehran exhibition
• Two months travel; Rome, Paris, Venice
• Returned to Iran; Commenced with
“Ministry of Agriculture"
Exhibitions and Travels
• 1960: Second Exhibition in Tehran; First
Prize of Fine Arts; Traveled to Tokyo to
learn inlay; he visited cities and art
centers of Japan
Travel and Work
• 1961:He visited Agra (Taj-Mahal) in India, on
his return to Iran Individual Exhibition,
Abbasi Hall, Tehran
• Published collection of poems "Sun's Load“
–Avar e Aftab-
• Started Teaching in "Decorative Arts
School", Tehran
• Published collection of poems "Sorrow's
East“- Shargh e Andooh-
‫‪Shargh e Andooh‬‬ ‫‪Avar e Aftab‬‬

‫چه گذشت ؟ •‬ ‫مي تراويد آفتاب از بوته ها •‬

‫زنبوري پر زد‬ ‫ديدمش در دشت هاي نم زده‬
‫در پهنه‬ ‫مست اندوه تماشا ‪ ،‬يار باد‬
‫وهم‪ .‬اين سو ‪ ،‬آن سو‪ ،‬جوياي‬ ‫مويش افشان ‪ ،‬گونه اش شبنم‬
‫گلي‬ ‫زده‪.‬‬
‫جوياي گلي ‪ ،‬آري ‪ ،‬بي ساقه گلي‬
‫در پهنه خواب ‪ ،‬نوشابه آن‬ ‫لله اي ديديم ‪ -‬لبخندي به دشت‪-‬‬
‫اندوه‪ .‬اندوه نگاه‪ :‬بيداري چشم‪،‬‬ ‫پرتويي در آب روشن ريخته‬
‫بي برگي دست‬ ‫او صدا را در شيار باد ريخت‬
‫ني‪ .‬سبدي مي كن‪ ،‬سفري در باغ‬ ‫"جلوه اش با بوي خنك آميخته"‬
‫باز آمده ام بسيار‪ ،‬و ره آوردم‪:‬‬
‫تيناب تهي‬ ‫رود‪ ،‬تابان بود و او موج صدا‬
‫سفري ديگر‪ ،‬اي دوست‪ ،‬و به‬ ‫خيره شد چشمان ما در رود وهم‬
‫باغي ديگر‬ ‫پرده روشن بود ‪ ،‬او تاريك خواند‬
‫بدرود‬ ‫"طرح ها در دست دارد دود وهم"‬
‫بدرود‪ ،‬و به همراهت نيروي‬
‫هراس‬ ‫چشم من بر پيكرش افتاد ‪ ،‬گفت‬
‫"آفت پژمردگي نزديك او"‬
‫دشت‪ :‬درياي تپش‪ ،‬آهنگ ‪ ،‬نور‬
‫روانه •‬ ‫‪.‬سايه مي زد خنده تاريك او‬
‫•‬ ‫غبار لبخند‬
Travels and Exhibitions
• March 1962: Sohrab resigned from all
his governmental positions
• Held individual exhibitions in Farhang
Hall, Tehran
• 1963: Individual exhibition in
“Golestan Film Studio,” Tehran
• “Iran Contemporary Art” group
exhibition in Sao Paolo, Brazil
• Group exhibitions in “Saba” and
“Niala” galaries, Tehran
Travels and Exhibitions

• 1965: Sohrab’s individual and group

exhibitions continue in Tehran
• "Water's Foot Voice" – Sedaye Paye
Poem was published in Arash
• Sohrab traveled to London, Munich
and Back to Tehran
‫‪• 1966: Traveled to France, Spain,‬‬
‫‪Netherlands, Italy, Austria and‬‬
‫‪retuned to Tehran‬‬
‫"‪• Individual exhibition in "Seihoun‬‬
‫‪gallery, Tehran‬‬
‫"‪• Collection of poems "Green Volume‬‬
‫‪– Hajm e Sabz-‬‬
‫آب را گل نكنيم‬
‫در فرودست انگار‪ ،‬كفتري مي‌خورد آب‬
‫يا كه در بيشه دور‪ ،‬سيره‌يي پر مي‌شويد‬
‫يا در آبادي‪ ،‬كوزه‌يي پر مي‌گردد‬

‫آب را گل نكنيم‬
‫شايد اين آب روان‪ ،‬مي‌رود پاي سپيداري‪ ،‬تا فرو شويد اندوه دلي‬
‫دست درويشي شايد‪ ،‬نان خشكيده فرو برده در آب‬
• Until 1970 Sohrab held different
exhibitions in different cities and
• In the last years of his life Sohrab
twice travelled to the US and held
exhebitions in Boston
• He travelled to France, Egypt and
• More than any where else he held
exhibitions in the Seihoun gallery
The Last Collection

• In 1977 Sohrab published his final

collection of poems: “Eight books” -
Hasht Ketab –
• Hasht Ketab was the collection of all
his published poems in one
• Nima Yushij introduced modernism in
Persian poetry
• New Poetry- modern style of poetry. It has
a harmonious cadence and an underlying
theme, but does not follow the strict rules
regarding rhyme and the number of
• Some regarded themselves as the
followers of Nima Youshij, but many,
though inspired by his innovations tried to
find an independent path such as Sohrab
Metaphors and
I am a Moslem • Rose is living and Mecca is
My Mecca is a rose always alive because there
My mosque is a spring, my prayer always people there and
stone the light. even if not there are
Fields make my prayer rug. Muslims always praying
I make ablution with the toward it (qibla)
heartbeat of the windows. • Spring- water source of life,
Moonlight flows through my cannot live without water,
prayers, the spectrum too. cannot live without God
Rocks show through my prayers • Fields- connect with nature
Every particle of my prayer is • Natural sound cleanses
crystalline. him=the wind blow and the
- air embracing the window
makes noises like a
• Connected with his prayers-
one with his prayers:
crystalline- molecules are
tightly bonded
Complex- Read
between the lines
• Deeper meaning – many layers waiting to
be uncovered
• Similar to Classical poetry
• Personalized poetry- meaning is for one to
uncover, gives meaning to the one
uncovering truth for themselves
• Juxtaposition- a juxtaposition occurs
when two images that are otherwise not
commonly brought together appear side by
side or structurally close together, thereby
forcing the reader to stop and reconsider
the meaning of the text through the
contrasting images, ideas, motifs, etc.
• Read between the lines
Abstract Symbolism

• Technique of using metaphors and

symbolism still popular just like
classical poetry
• Due to his experience with the
colours and lines of stylized paintings
gave a visual dimension to some of
his poems, making them musical
I peel a pomegranate
and say to myself;
Weren't it good if
one could see, the
seeds of people
hearts ; Tears come
when the juice
splashes in my
A swan is suddenly
startled from rest.
She cleans her white
wings from dust of the
nile. Toghether with
the delicate dance of
the reed bed. The
opens her wet eyes
• Unlike Nima Yushij, Sohrab’s poems
are apolitical
• Themes in poetry did not relate to
• Poetry did convey a message
• Message: simplicity in life

• The most notable feature in his

poetry and paintings is mysticism, a
blend of Sufism, Zen-Buddhism and
Zoroastrianism, through which the
poet invites people to turn away form
evil ways, regaining the innocence of
a child in nature.
• For example: refers to Veda, Tanana
ya hu (portion of a Sufi chant. The ya
hu means O God), and Buddha.
Outward to Inward

• Take a journey inside one’s inner self

• The journey deep inside our soul is
facilitated by our connection and
oneness with natural force (nature)
• Harmony with Earth means harmony
and peace within ourselves
• The Night of Good Solitude
• Season’s loudest branch can hear the moon= meaning that
everything is so silent that the ‘loudest branch’ is silent
enough to hear something so distant
– Example of juxtaposition
• Complete silence
• Door- opening the door inside to yourself
• Lantern- light of knowledge
• Asking you to make a journey inside
• Time will sit down by you= Time is eternal and constant
• Gaze= nature, love nature and be in unison with your
surroundings to be in harmony with oneself
• Solitude
• The pilgrim’s glance fell • ‫نگاه مرد مسافر به روي زمين‬
over the table ‫افتاد‬
“What pretty apples! ‫چه سيب هاي قشنگي‬
Life thirsts for solitude.” ‫حيات نشئه تنهايي است‬
And the host asked ‫و ميزبان پرسيد‬
“What is beauty?” ‫قشنگ يعني چه؟‬
- “Beauty means the love- ‫قشنگ يعني تعبير عاشقانه اشكال‬
enchanted definition of
And love, only love ‫ تنها عشق‬، ‫و عشق‬
It acquaints you with the ‫ترا به گرمي يك سيب مي كند‬
warmth of an apple ‫مانوس‬
And love, only love
Carried me to the width of ‫ تنها عشق‬، ‫و عشق‬
sorrow of lives ‫مرا به وسعت اندوه زندگي ها برد‬
It took me to the possibility
of flight ‫مرا رساند به امكان يك پرنده‬
- Did it take to the balsam ‫شدن‬.
of grief”?
- The pure sound of elixir ‫و نوشداري اندوه؟‬
supplies the drink … ‫صداي خالص اكسير مي دهد اين‬
Listen. The world’s most distant
bird is singing. • ‫ دورترين مرغ جهان مي‬، ‫گوش كن‬
The night is fluent, seamless, ‫خواند‬
‫ و باز‬، ‫ و يكدست‬،‫شب سليس است‬
Geraniums ‫شمعداني ها‬
And the season’s loudest branch ‫ ماه را‬، ‫و صدادارترين شاخه فصل‬
can hear the moon. ‫مي شنوند‬
The stairs- in front of the ، ‫پلكان جلو ساختمان‬
building. ‫در فانوس به دست‬
The door- lantern in hand, ، ‫و در اسراف نسيم‬
And the breeze- in wasteful
‫ جاده صدا مي زند از دور‬، ‫گوش كن‬
profusion. .‫قدم هاي ترا‬
Listen. The road calls to your .‫چشم تو زينت تاريكي نيست‬
steps from afar. ‫ و‬، ‫ كفش به پا كن‬، ‫پلك ها را بتكان‬
Your eyes are not an ornament ‫بيا‬
‫ كه پر ماه به انگشت‬، ‫و بيا تا جايي‬
for darkness. ‫تو هشدار دهد‬
Shake open you eyelids, slip on
your shoes, and come. ‫و زمان روي كلوخي بنشيند با تو‬
Come to a place where the ‫ مثل يك‬،‫و مزامير شب اندام ترا‬
moon’s feathers ‫قطعه آواز به خود جذب كنند‬
Will warn your fingertips ‫پارسايي است در آنجا كه ترا خواهد‬
And Time will sit down by you, : ‫گفت‬
sharing a mound of earth ‫بهترين چيز رسيدن به نگاهي است‬
‫كه از حادثه عشق تر است‬
And psalms of the night will lure
your body like a song.
There is a wise man there who
will tell you: “The fines thing
The Traveler
• In ‘The Traveler’, Sepehri like a real traveler makes his journey; a
journey void of time and place in which the story of man is
• Journey= travelers quest for truth
• The traveler seems happy to have found out the enigmas of life
and to have reached an understanding, yet he is sorrowful to see
his smallness before the grandeur of the Creator and all this
originates from the way he looks at the universe with so much love
and enthusiasm
• Arrives in Babol
• Meets with his host.
• Discuss never ending sorrow of mankind over the beatuiful
backdrop of Babol.
• The host then asks about the loneliness of the traveler and he tells
him about the nature of love and wisdom.
• Traveler cannot sleep
• Sits on sofa and embarks on spiritual journey
• Left alone = begins his spiritual journey
• major part of this spiritual journey occurs between two ancient
sites representing human civilization namely: Mesopotamia and
Babylonian on one hand and India, Tibet, and the Himalayas
• Through this journey the traveler goes back
to the beginnings years of civilization
• He first goes to Babylon and finds the east
declining. Then he moves to India and the
Himalayas and lets us know about Buddha’s
teachings and Buddhist mysticism.
• he still believes one should always be
traveling, that one should always pass by
things and avoid remaining in the past.

• His message lives on

• Enjoy life – the simplicity of life is
• Connect with the elements of the
universe in order to connect with
one’s self
• Always remember where you come
from, but live in the present
Stirrings of the Word for Life
• Life means that a startling flew away
What has made you sad?
There are so many things to delight your heart.
The sun for instance
The baby born the day after tomorrow
The dove the week after that
Last night someone died
And still wheat bread is delicious
And still water pours down, and horses drink
Life is a pleasurable trend,
It has wings as vast as death,
It can leap as high as love,
Life is not a thing to be forgotten by you and me on the
shelf of our habits.
• Life is a collection of simple and natural events
• Perceive life in a simple fashion without any kind of
• Cleanse our eyes and look at things differently so as to be
able to find out that everything is in its proper place, and
that nothing is really bad.
And let’s not say night is wicked,
And let’s not say glowworm is not aware of the
garden’s insight.
And let’s know that if there were no worm, life would
be lacking for something,
And if there were no death, our hands would be
searching for something.
• Sepehri’s view of death is like similar to classical Iranian
mystics who believed life and death are indeed ONE.
• He believes death is alive.
• Sohrab passed
away on April 20,
- 1st Ordibehesht

He passed away in
Pars Hospital in
Tehran, and is
burried in Ardehal

Sohrab was
diagnosed with
blood cancer
Sohrab’s message and
memory lives on

How does Sohrab perceive religion

and spirituality? Does he mock
religion or is there deeper
spiritual meaning?
What is his message to you?