Sunday, October 23, 2011


The awesome woman of the day is Mahsatī Ganjavi (b. circa 1086), a poet philosopher who lived in 12th century Ganja, a city in modern-day Azerbaijan. She was an eminent Persian poet, said to have associated with famous contemporaneous poets Omar Khayyam and Nizami Ganjavi. She was also, it is believed, a consort of Sultan Sanjar, and lived a free lifestyle that included many love affairs.

She is often described as writing poems about love, sexuality and freedom. English translations of her poetry seem to be locked inside the copyrighted, for-sale domain of academia and I was able to find only two examples (translated by Edward G. Brown) on the Web that go beyond the genre of love poems; they are transcendent and highly evolved philosophy:

The Pathway Finally Opened
When my heart came to rule
in the world of love,
it was freed
from both belief
and from disbelief.

On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.

When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.
English version by
David and Sabrineh Fideler

A world there is for those in love with mines of precious stones

 A world there is for those in love with mines of precious stones,
But bards select a different world as setting for their thrones.
The bird who eats love's magic grain lives on another plane -
His nest beyond both worlds, ignoring riches, scorning fame.
English version by
Edward G. Brown

According to the site where these poems were found and echoed on other sites on the Web, "Her poetry was a strong voice against prejudice and hypocrisy and patriarchy, while upholding love -- both human and divine. She was celebrated at the court of Sultan Sanjar for her rubaiyat (quatrains), but later persecuted for her courageous stand against overly dogmatic religion and arbitrary male dominance."