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 harvest and store the spring crops. The poem is a good example of the evocative use of place names, as the man follows his beloved in thought up the tribal way from Chulwar to the snowy Cheri Pass, and over it to the open pastures of Surau, at about 8000 feet. Lorimer himself travelled this route in 1908; and this is also probably the path followed by Merian Cooper when making the film ‘Grass’ in 1924.
Save for the sisambul, there is not a blade of grass.
The man with the herd (of mares) is hastening along, the shepherd is all in confusion.
My Friend’s halting-place to-day is at Haud-i Nu.
Haud-i Nu and Gurishom, Astan i Bard
No strength has remained in my heart, owing to grief.
Let the rain rain down at Chulwar,
And moisten the dark locks on the neck of my Friend.
She pulled up her trousers and struck into the Chulwar stream:
The green tattoo marks and the white leg go well with each other.
She pulled up her trousers and leapt from stone to stone:
The white leg, and the green tattoo marks, and the yellow anklet.
Arkalla is awake from the multitude of mounted women:
Drive your mare along slowly, that I may sing you a song.
On the track up Munar I shall lay hold of your cow’s ear,
I shall throw my arms round your neck and kiss your eyes.
On the track up Munar I shall lay hold of the mane of your mare,
I shall throw my arms round your neck and kiss your two lips.
The willow of Sarhun struck its roots into the chenar.
The spring of Sarhun (is) the object of rivalry of the women:
The clashing of bowls: there is a fight among the girls.
The chivil of Taraz: the snow of the Dul i Ambar:
It breaks and sheds itself on the neck of the Beloved.
A bay mare bearing no foal, for what am I to make much of you?
(If) the cultivator has not sown it, what blame rests on me ?
My Friend is in the Cold Country and is churning buttermilk, not yet having broken her fast.
May the snow at my hand be snake-poison to me!
I will not taste it, I will not touch it: I have given you my pledge.
Your waist is slender, you have not the strength (to carry) the water-skin.
O chivil, give out no fragrance. I am sick of your perfume.
I am in the Hot Country, when you give out your perfume.
My Friend’s tresses and the chivil made a wager.
They went to the Qazi: they defeated the chivil.
My Friend’s tresses and the chivil laid a wager.
They went to the Qazi: they vanquished the chivil.
On the Cheri Pass my Friend raised a cry,
‘I have seen a partridge’s nest under a kuma bush’.
On the Cheri Pass my Friend raised a shout,
‘I have seen a partridge’s nest under a thorn bush’.
The Dizdaruni Spring, its coldness comes from the Milli:
The partridge with its pleasant note belongs to the Cheri Pass.
Friend, I have heard that someone kissed your face:
The grief in my heart has covered up Bazuft.
Friend, I have heard that a boil has broken out on your lip.
The splashing (waters) of Tuf i Kama have flowed into the Mauri.
The grief in my heart fills up Andaka:
Half a maund of it is equal to Zarda, Dila is (but) a make-weight to it.
I want my Friend’s tresses, they are like (a necklace of) black beads.
I do not want chivil, it struck its roots into the gina bush:
I want my Friend’s tresses, they have curved down into her bosom.
O North Wind of the Highlands, go in under her kerchief,
(And) bring a token for me from the perfume (?) of her neck.
. . . . . . . . .
And bring for me a token from the hair of his moustache.
Come, that we may see each other, like Shirin and Farhad.
You are the North Wind of the Highlands, I am of the Lowlands:
Come, that we may see each other like Khusrau and Shirin.
I ask all about you from the partridges with their young.
I am here at Nori Qala below the Dizful dam.
I ask all about you from the partridge and the pigeon.
I am here at Nori Qala below the Shushter dam.
You know my state, you know my condition.
There is no place for letters, I shall tell you by word of mouth.
I shall make jaz into chivil, and gypsum into snow-water:
I shall make Andaka into the meadowland of Sirau.
I must become a hailstone and fall into your mouth.
Harvester, untried harvester, may your mother die!
You carry the loading-net on your head as though you had a long way to go.
Harvester, untried harvester, whet your sickle.
The camp (and flocks) are not at Bazuft, they have gone over to Surau.
The lovely chivil is like fine Chinese fabric (?).
My Beloved, from his youth, worked (but) slackly with his arms.
Go, tell my mother that my heart has sent forth smoke.
The murmuring of the pigeons of the Hot Country:
They are wandering about the gypsum land here looking for sweet water.
From you snow and chivil, from me kunar flour:
I shall load (the flour) on a donkey and drive it along night and day.
From you snow and chivil, from me kunar wood:
I shall load up a donkey and drive it along the track to the camp.
The buds of the wild celery and snow-water are here at my side.
Put melting snow in the water-skin of scented leather,
And carry it to the Hot Country for the fever-stricken youth.
Put melting snow in the hairless water-skin,
And carry it to the Hot Country for the smooth-faced youth.
Koh i Gyera is under your foot, Zarda is level with you.
The harvesters are set free and have turned their faces towards the camp of the tribe (in the Yelaq).
No horse can overtake him, nor any winged fowl (?).
The harvesters have got free and have loaded up their donkeys.
They have sent a messenger on ahead,… (?).
Sisambul is a kind of grass. Lorimer thinks that the word actually represents the Persian sisambar, or wild thyme.
Chivil is wild celery, which is pushing up through the snow just as the tribes reach the high mountains in spring. It is poetically associated not only with welcome coolness, but also has romantic associations of perfume and beautiful hair.
The yellow anklet is likely to be brass.
With kind permission, from: Lorimer, DLR 1955 “The Popular Verse of the Bakhtiāri of S. W. Persia –II: Specimens of Bakhtiāri Verse”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1 pp. 103-107; and Lorimer, DLR 1963 “The Popular Verse of the Baḵẖtiāri of S. W. Persia –III: Further Specimens”Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 59-63