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Sunltcloud
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The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Kabul

Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust

My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!

Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats

And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures
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SueDG
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Thanks! The full text illuminates Hosseini's love for this city, accentuates the tragedy of its near destruction, and the hope for the future.
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Mockingbird
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

“Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats”



This stanza, so achingly beautiful, underscores the tragedy of a bombed, ruined Kabul. The novel ended in 2003 with some optimism about the future. I wonder what the city is like now.
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Mariposa
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

"And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls"

Is that line a reference to the women of Kabul who are hidden behind walls? That is what it seems to me. I wonder what others think.
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Mockingbird
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Perhaps it's a multi-layered text which has several interpretations, including the one you mention, that it's a reference to the veiled women. It could also refer to the private joys and pleasures hidden by the walls of the houses, perhaps even the physical beauty of the place itself, or perhaps communal celebrations and rituals, such as the kite flying in The Kite Runner. Maybe it refers to the rich tapestry of the generations whose lives have been lived there, with all their stories and passions. Maybe all of the above!
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viva2
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us. Do you know how old the poem is? The time in which it was written could have some bearing on the interpretation of the title of our book.

I tend to feel that the poet "could not count the moons ...and ...suns" as a way of saying that the abundance of beauty, goodness and wonder in the outer world of Kabul extended, as well, to "the thousand splendid suns that hide beind her walls" in the secret inner world of the home with wives and children and their vivid but cloistered life.

The "thousand splendid suns" image implies the passage of time, as does the reference to moons, uncountable in number - giving the feeling of eternity to the poet's love and appreciation of his beloved city.

The "suns that hide behind her walls" shows reverence for the safety of the idealized home life of the mothers and their children in Kabul.

Our two heroines did have sunny happiness with each other and the children, in the absence of the husband. Surely, their thousand splendid suns rose and fell daily around their devotion to and love of the children.

I think it likely that, at the time that the poem was written, the "thousand" would refer to an unimaginably large number, imbuing the suns with an opulence beyond their own natural radiance. These suns, whether daily sun, or daily family life, would be rich and rewarding, as were the experiences of the women and children together in this book.
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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

The poem was written in the 17th century by the Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi. I tried to find something about him but Mr. Hosseini's book overshadows the poet. Every web page I read discussed the book/title and none revealed more about the poet. I will try again.





viva2 wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us. Do you know how old the poem is? The time in which it was written could have some bearing on the interpretation of the title of our book.

I tend to feel that the poet "could not count the moons ...and ...suns" as a way of saying that the abundance of beauty, goodness and wonder in the outer world of Kabul extended, as well, to "the thousand splendid suns that hide beind her walls" in the secret inner world of the home with wives and children and their vivid but cloistered life.

The "thousand splendid suns" image implies the passage of time, as does the reference to moons, uncountable in number - giving the feeling of eternity to the poet's love and appreciation of his beloved city.

The "suns that hide behind her walls" shows reverence for the safety of the idealized home life of the mothers and their children in Kabul.

Our two heroines did have sunny happiness with each other and the children, in the absence of the husband. Surely, their thousand splendid suns rose and fell daily around their devotion to and love of the children.

I think it likely that, at the time that the poem was written, the "thousand" would refer to an unimaginably large number, imbuing the suns with an opulence beyond their own natural radiance. These suns, whether daily sun, or daily family life, would be rich and rewarding, as were the experiences of the women and children together in this book.


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IBIS
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

What a splendid interpretation of the poem, Viva2. I think you got it just right.
Although it was written in the 17th Century, it captures the love that the Afghan people have for their beautiful capital city.

Unfortunately, today, there are not so many tulips; and there is more rubble than beautiful buildings.

I think the "thousand splendid suns" are the mothers who loved and nurtured their children knowing that many of them would not thrive under these horrible political climate.

The author exalts "motherhood". In the novel, motherhood emerges as the highest ideal, not only for Mariam and Laila, but for women in general.

The words by Mariam to Laila (who now has 2 children) is, "Think like a mother" captures the mother-daughter-like relationship that grew between them, even though they were virutal prisoners of their furiously violent husband.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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viva2
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi


IBIS wrote:
What a splendid interpretation of the poem, Viva2. I think you got it just right.
Although it was written in the 17th Century, it captures the love that the Afghan people have for their beautiful capital city.

Unfortunately, today, there are not so many tulips; and there is more rubble than beautiful buildings.

I think the "thousand splendid suns" are the mothers who loved and nurtured their children knowing that many of them would not thrive under these horrible political climate.

The author exalts "motherhood". In the novel, motherhood emerges as the highest ideal, not only for Mariam and Laila, but for women in general.

The words by Mariam to Laila (who now has 2 children) is, "Think like a mother" captures the mother-daughter-like relationship that grew between them, even though they were virutal prisoners of their furiously violent husband.



Thank you, Ibis, for your generosity. (I majored in English while in the greater Boston area, and fondly remember reading and analyzing Shakespeare's sonnets in my sophomore year. Happily, that love of poetry stays with me still, so many years later.)

Thank you, too, for your observations about motherhood in the book. Your observations are more astute than mine, and undoubtedly bear strongly on Hosseini's choice of title, as well as on the direction of the story.

The descriptions of Kabul in Kite Runner, before and after invasion, were first warmly beautiful and then achingly heartbreaking. How I wish I could have seen Kabul before the wars. The loving descriptions by Saib-e-Tabrizi and Khaled Hosseini, alike, give a small taste of what has been lost. You speak of the tulips as though you had seen them yourself. What a sad image, encapsulating the greater loss.
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Chaser
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Thank you, Sunltcloud, for sharing when the poem was written. I feel like I need to go back and take a look at what was happening in the history at that time as well as previously to understand more fully what the poet might be expressing.

One of the images of the book that stands out most clearly in my mind appears at the end of the book when Laila goes to visit Mariam's childhood town, Herat (I believe), and sees Afghans that have planted flowers in the casings of the old Mujahideen rockets. I feel that one of the main themes of the book was the beauty of the people, so overshadowed by war and adversity, and their ability to constantly bounce back and find beauty and joy even in the midst of terrible circumstances. I feel that Mariam and Laila did that sitting outside drinking tea and getting to know one another - it seems, at least, for Mariam, this was the only time this happened on such an intimate level. Even in the midst of an oppressive family situation, they found a way to sustain each other, and eventually Mariam found liberty in making the the decision to save Laila's life.

I know the poem was not written present-day but it makes me think of our occupation there, and how so much of what we here is about our political strategy, our "success" in routing terrorists, and so little about the good human beings who live there. If we are not careful (which I think Hosseini's books go so far to prevent), we will see only the war-ravaged landscape and forget to look beyond it to the unique people who live there and who embrace their country as it is. It is a great and enviable ability of the human spirit to continue to hope when much around you is devastated. I flip out just reading about the conditions of the people there (especially the women!).




Sunltcloud wrote:
The poem was written in the 17th century by the Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi. I tried to find something about him but Mr. Hosseini's book overshadows the poet. Every web page I read discussed the book/title and none revealed more about the poet. I will try again.





viva2 wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us. Do you know how old the poem is? The time in which it was written could have some bearing on the interpretation of the title of our book.

I tend to feel that the poet "could not count the moons ...and ...suns" as a way of saying that the abundance of beauty, goodness and wonder in the outer world of Kabul extended, as well, to "the thousand splendid suns that hide beind her walls" in the secret inner world of the home with wives and children and their vivid but cloistered life.

The "thousand splendid suns" image implies the passage of time, as does the reference to moons, uncountable in number - giving the feeling of eternity to the poet's love and appreciation of his beloved city.

The "suns that hide behind her walls" shows reverence for the safety of the idealized home life of the mothers and their children in Kabul.

Our two heroines did have sunny happiness with each other and the children, in the absence of the husband. Surely, their thousand splendid suns rose and fell daily around their devotion to and love of the children.

I think it likely that, at the time that the poem was written, the "thousand" would refer to an unimaginably large number, imbuing the suns with an opulence beyond their own natural radiance. These suns, whether daily sun, or daily family life, would be rich and rewarding, as were the experiences of the women and children together in this book.





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Chaser
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

Yes, viva2, I like your mention of "eternality." I feel that the lines about the moons and suns may have to do with the endurance of the city - that it is still standing, having already existed for a long time. The poet seems to love the city's solidity and predictability. It is familiar; I think he mentions in the first stanza that knowing and loving are the same (?). Even though the dust stings his eyes, since it is a mark of home, he can appreciate it and see it is a positive aspect.




viva2 wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us.
Do you know how old the poem is? The time in which it was written could have some bearing on the interpretation of the title of our book.

I tend to feel that the poet "could not count the moons ...and ...suns" as a way of saying that the abundance of beauty, goodness and wonder in the outer world of Kabul extended, as well, to "the thousand splendid suns that hide beind her walls" in the secret inner world of the home with wives and children and their vivid but cloistered life.

The "thousand splendid suns" image implies the passage of time, as does the reference to moons, uncountable in number - giving the feeling of eternity to the poet's love and appreciation of his beloved city.

The "suns that hide behind her walls" shows reverence for the safety of the idealized home life of the mothers and their children in Kabul.

Our two heroines did have sunny happiness with each other and the children, in the absence of the husband. Surely, their thousand splendid suns rose and fell daily around their devotion to and love of the children.

I think it likely that, at the time that the poem was written, the "thousand" would refer to an unimaginably large number, imbuing the suns with an opulence beyond their own natural radiance. These suns, whether daily sun, or daily family life, would be rich and rewarding, as were the experiences of the women and children together in this book.


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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

It is a recurring theme, one I am familiar with, that the only way to survive wars is to have those "in-between moments" when all is for one brief moment "normal." I was born in Germany and was a little over six years old when the war ended. During the last days of the war the French and the Germans fought a battle around our house on the outskirts of town. Several homes burned to the ground, ours didn't. The streets were littered with dead horses. Most of the German town leaders had fled into the woods, one committed suicide. The French took over the town. It was a dreary time, and yet.....when the French allowed us to walk around outside (they confiscated our house and my mother, grandmother and I were confined to one room) my mother took me for a walk and we gathered a few early spring flowers. My mother put them in a small glass vase and set them on the table, next to the meager meal we shared.




Chaser wrote:
Thank you, Sunltcloud, for sharing when the poem was written. I feel like I need to go back and take a look at what was happening in the history at that time as well as previously to understand more fully what the poet might be expressing.

One of the images of the book that stands out most clearly in my mind appears at the end of the book when Laila goes to visit Mariam's childhood town, Herat (I believe), and sees Afghans that have planted flowers in the casings of the old Mujahideen rockets. I feel that one of the main themes of the book was the beauty of the people, so overshadowed by war and adversity, and their ability to constantly bounce back and find beauty and joy even in the midst of terrible circumstances. I feel that Mariam and Laila did that sitting outside drinking tea and getting to know one another - it seems, at least, for Mariam, this was the only time this happened on such an intimate level.







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IBIS
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

SunLtCloud, thank you for sharing that wonderful post.

It's so true, we all gravitate towards peaceful moments, even in the middle of wartime; we are drawn to the beautiful in the middle of ugliness. I grew up in a country that was in the middle of violent war; we'd cower in fear whenever rebel soldiers marched into our village. But we children always found time to play hopscotch. And we always found beautiful wild flowers hidden under rubble to bring home to our mothers.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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viva2
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

SunItcloud, Chaser and IBIS, you all refer to the restorative beauty of flowers in war torn areas each separated by distance and time from the others. Those flowers, to me, represent hope and the amazingly universal ability of nature to bounce back, as well as how resilient we humans are. Lovely images - thank you all.
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acer240
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

. . . Hello. Does anyone have a picture of what a rocket casing looks like?? I have recently finished reading the novel and for my English project, I'm drawing a movie poster. I would really really love to draw that image of flowers inside the rocket casing, I just don't know what the rocket casing looks like. Can somebody please upload one, or just give me a link? Thank you so so much.
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scheeber
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

This poem truly shows the loyalty and closeness the author has with Kabul. In the first stanza, my impression of Kabul was that it was a very natural town without any tall buildings to interrupt a view of the mountains. In the second stanza, the author seems to be protecting Kabul. He asks Allah to protect Kabul from harm. I think that the last line of the stanza could mean protection from the unkind words people may say against it, or protection from war and destruction. Kabul seems to be greatly appreciated and loved, but only to those that are there often or have a connection with the place.
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MarioRiosPinot
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Re: The Poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi

O love it...the poem., the commentaries, wonderful. Thank you.

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