Baba Tahir (ca. 1000-1060 AD) of Hamadan (Hemedan, Ekbatan in Median era) is one of the very first poets in the East to write rubaiyats. Little is known of the circumstances of Baba Tahir’s birth and death. Baba Tahir’s rusticity and mastery of both Kurdish (Lekí dialect), Persian (and Arabic) have rendered his works unusually dear to the common people of both nations. His particular poetic meter is perhaps a legacy of the pre-Islamic poetic tradition of southeastern and central Kurdistan, or the celebrated “Pehlewíyat/Fehlewíyat,” or more specific the “Ewranet” style of balladry. Many Yarisan (Yaristan) religious works and Jilwa, the holy hymns of the Yezidi prophet Shaykh Adi, are also in this Pehlewíyat style of verse. Baba Tahir himself has now ascended to a high station in the indigenous Kurdish religion of Yarisanism as one of the avatars of the Universal Spirit.
Baba Tahir Oryan’s mysticism, philosophy, and sentiments are captured in quatrains of simple and uniform metre. He was considered by his contemporaries as one of the most eminent, erudite mystics and sentimentalists of his time.
Here is the translation of an excerpt from one of Baba Tahir’s Poems;
Her ún baxí ki wa resh ser bider bí Mudamesh baxeban xùnín jiger bí Bibayed kendenesh ez bíx u ez bin Eger barish heme le'l u guher bí
When Trees to grow beyond their boundaries dare,
They Cause the Gardeners much anxious care;
Down to their very roots they must be pruned,
Though Pearls and Rubies be the Fruits they bear.
Translated by Elizabeth Curtis Benton,
“THE LAMENT OF BABA TAHIR”