Song of the Acorn: a Bakhtiari poem

The holly-oak tree, with its large, oval acorns, used to cover the inner ranges of the Bakhtiari country. Now, environmental changes mean that it’s being lost. Lorimer describes how, in the old days of its abundance and “in time of scarcity [acorns] are ground into flour after prolonged treatment to get rid of their more …

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The Parted Lovers: a Bakhtiari poem

Two lovers dream of each other, and the land that both separates and unites them in this sensual poem.  When the warm weather comes, and the woman has gone off with the tribe to the ‘Cold Country’ (called sardsir, sarhador yelaq,). For the first time, the man has been left behind in the ‘Warm Country’ (garmsir), to …

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Factional fighting: a Bakhtiari poem

This ballard describes brave men and a gorgeous woman who were also included in  Henry Layard’s account of his 1841 sojourn and fighting alongside the Bakhtiari – shortly before he discovered Nineveh/Nimrud (see www.soas.ac.uk/gallery/bakhtiari-kuch/eet/layard/ for more information and images). The poem is about the battle between the Duraki and Behdarwand tribes. Ja’far Quli Khan was chief of …

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The Ballad of ‘Abdu Khalil: a Bakhtiari poem

This poem derides the excessive size and eating of ‘Abdu Khalil: the Khan’s agent to the Mulmuli section of the Raid tribe of the Haftlang. The ordinary people call on honour as they expect – or at least hope – that their Khan will hear their pleas for help: A seven-pole tent is his cloak: The …

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Mourning Chant: a Bakhtiari poem

This traditional lament shows the depth and strength of grief. It is said to be ‘very old’. Lorimer apparently originally recorded 24 lines, but only reported the first eight. He writes “It is said that after a man’s death his clothes are tied up in a bundle (buqca). Then, every day in the year that …

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Letter from a Lur to the Shah: a Bakhtiari poem

This poem has a hilarious satirical kick – literally – in its ending. It is not clear which Qajar king this might have been addressed to; and Lorimer is not even sure if the language in this poem is convincingly Bakhtiari. However, it’s certainly an example of satire. I want a man wise and crafty, …

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Lament for Abul Qasim: a Bakhtiari poem

The mother of Abul Qasim composed this poem after his death, and made him famous among all the Bakhtiari. The story was given by the reciter as follows: “Abul Qasim went to Shiraz. The daughter of his father’s brother was betrothed to him. He went to get a camel, so that he might celebrate his marriage …

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