The Persian and The Poet

14… Yalda Night Special

December 22, 2020

Episode 14 : Yalda Night Special

Ramak and Cam share a night full of candles, cosiness, fruit and poetry! Gorgeous ghazals from one of the greatest of all Persian poets: Hafiz, as well as exquisite poems from Cam’s 3 favourite poets: David Whyte, Mary Oliver and John O’Donohue…. and Cam couldn’t not share a brand-new ghazal he’d just written.

But some may be asking – What is Yalda Night?

Well, Yalda Night is a winter solstice festival celebrated in Iran. Friends and family gather on the longest night of the year to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) until well after midnight. Nuts and fruits are shared. The red-coloured fruits, like pomegranates and watermelons, are particularly significant – symbolising the crimson hues of dawn and the glow of life. The poems of Hafez, which can be found in the bookcases of most Iranian families, are read aloud… and even used as a light-hearted form of divination called ‘fal-e Hafez’, where the reader sends out a wish to Hafez, flicks through their book of Hafez poems, stops at a random page, and reads that poem as an answer to their wish…

and on this Yalda Night in 2020 Ramak and Cam try a bit of fal-e Hafez… with thought-provoking results!

Poem list:

1 : Sweet Darkness by David Whyte.

2 : A Summer Day by Mary Oliver.

3 & 4 : Ghazals by Hafez from The Divan of Hafez.

5 : Ode 44 (a ghazal by Hafez) translated by Richard Le Gallienne.

6 : A Silent Refrain by Cameron Semmens

7 : For The Break-up of a Relationship by John O’Donohue


All music by Jared Haschek:

Podcast produced by Cameron Semmens :

Photography and graphic design by Ramak Bamzar :

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