A Brief Note on the
Life of Rahi Mo'ayeri


Iraj Bashiri

Copyright, Bashiri 2001

Muhammad Hassan Rahi Mo'ayeri was born in 1910 into a noble and distinguished family of Tehran, Iran. His grandfather, Mo'ayer al-Mamalik Nizam al-Daula was Nasir al-Din Shah's treasurer. In fact, Rahi's ancestors had held high offices in Iran's government from the ascension of Nadir Shah Afshar until the fall of the Qajar dynasty to the Pahlavis in 1925. Additionally, the Mo'yeri family, including Mirza Abbas Forughi Bastami, was among the most outstanding contributors to the promotion of Persian literature and culture.

Rahi Mo'ayeri began his poetic career in 1923 with the following quatrain that appeared in Tehran newspapers:

I wish that beauty would visit tonight,
And crown my desires with delight;
The lip that inspire life in me is away,
And death's presence nowhere in sight.

Neither was poetry the only art in which Rahi excelled. He was a good painter and an accomplished musician as well. In addition, he was a prolific composer and an avid reader. He is reported to have read all the works of the traditional poets, concentrating on the works of Sa'di, Hafiz, and Rumi. Many of his lyrics are based on the contributions of the greats of Persian literature and continue to be a source of delight for Iranian audiences. In fact, in the 1950's and 1960's the works of Rahi Mo'ayeri, both his poetical works and his satires, were broadcast widely by Iran radio and later by Iran television as well. His critical essay, it should be noted, were usually published under such pseudonyms as "Zaghche" and "Shah-i Pariyan."

In 1958, Rahi accompanied a group of Iranian scholars to Turkey where he visited the mausoleum of Maulana Jalal-al-Din Rumi. He also traveled to the Soviet union, Afghanistan, Italy, and France.

Rahi Mo'ayeri writes in the style of the traditional masters, emulating mostly the works of Shaykh Muslih al-Din Sa'di Shirazi. In this he joins three other major poets: Helali, Forughi Bastami, and Mu'tamid al-Daula Nishat. All four are distinguished for their maturity of theme and simplicity of diction. Here is an example of Sa'di's influence on Rahi Mo'ayeri:

The more our life's light dwindles,
The more painful our existence grows;
The more westerly the sun travels,
The more lengthy our shadow shows.


Restive flames

Written by:
Rahi Mo'ayeri

Translated by
Iraj Bashiri

Looking at tulips,
Your beautiful face;
Looking at flames,
Your restive grace,
I recalled.

Seeing sweet flowers,
Bunched together;
Your social graces.
Amid pleasant faces,
I recalled.

By the flickering candle,
Assailed by the wind;
Your hairs' fragrance,
From a distance,
I recalled.

With the butterfly's visit
Which was so short;
Your moments of quarrel,
And pangs of anger, I recalled.

Like the deer that escaped
Leaving in amazement
The skillful hunter
Your coquettish banter,
I recalled.

The creek's weeping
Flowing by the cypress;
My constant tears
And pleasant distress,
I recalled.

Seeing the town,
Tumultuous and wild,
Your unruly nature, Rahi,
And your crazy frown,
I recalled.

The Noose of Fate

Written by:
Rahi Mo'ayeri

Translated by
Iraj Bashiri

A gentle fellow,
An ordinary Arab;
Walked by the Tigris,
On a day hot and drab.

There a fierce lion,
He suddenly saw,
And climbed a tree,
With his nerves all raw.

When he looked above,
His dread increased;
A slumbering boa,
His nerves further teased.

His head swam,
Every look he took;
With the lion below,
All hope him forsook.

He could not ascend,
For fear of the snake;
Nor could he descend,
And his escape make.

He threw himself,
Into the river below;
To the lion and the boa,
He said, "Adieu!"

From the air, ere
Touching the water;
He glimpsed an animal,
Move to that quarter.

Saved from two dangers,
Immune he was not;
From the Decree of Fate,
Which him carefully sought.

Of two dangers though saved,
The good-natured elf;
From the lethal third,
He could not rid himself.

He escaped, he thought,
The lion and the snake;
Alas that his lot,
A different turn did take.

When Time so decrees
All can be lost;
Poverty and misery,
Recognize no cost.

You're but a small morsel,
Large is the mouth of death;
You're but a small bird,
Caught in Chance's lethal breath.

Were you the sun,
Deep set in the firmament;
Fate would capture you,
Were it for you sent.

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