Pahlavon Mahmud

Category: Uzbek classical poetry Published: Sunday, 29 September 2013

Pahlavon Mahmoud, one of the spiritual mountains of Kharezm, a well-known wrestler, poet and famous clergyman, was born in 1247. His father was originally from ancient Urgench, a town in Uzbekistan. Pahlavon Mahmoud was born on the way to Khiva, when their family was moving from Urgench. Mahmoud was a physically healthy, mentally and spiritually perfect person. Especially, hi was famous for his ability in wrestling. He attended many contests throughout Eastern countries. He was a winner in wrestling championships in India and Iran and was the number one wrestler. He was called a teacher of wrestlers then.
As a poet he was well known in XIV-XV centuries and was described as a poet and wrestler in many influential pamphlets and encyclopedias of the XV-XX centuries. However, the lack of information on his life and activity does not enable to create a detail and complete biography of Pahlavon Mahmoud. Besides, we don’t have all of his creative works. Very short information about his life differs and often reiterates each other. Pahlavon Mahmoud’s name was always called with one or two nicknames. In Kharezm he was called “Pahlavon Mahmoud”, Polvonpir” and in some historical books he was stated as “Hazrat Pahlavon” (Eminent Wrestler), “Mahmoud Piryorvali” or “Mahmoud Puryoyvaliy”.
Pahlavon Mahmoud’s poems have been watered with great feelings. Below we are presenting some samples from his rubais (quatrains) and we hope you’ll enjoy reading them.

 

Quatrains (rubais)

*****

The world’s a beauty and you are its face,
Mind’s a river and you’re water – base.
Don’t sit on flower leaf as dew,
In this orchard you’re a sign of grace.

*****

It wishes a true man were a head of world affair,
To make evil deeds a villain would not dare,
The world’s affair is like backgammon at all times,
A coward wins a brave man and it’s unfair.

*****

I said to my beloved: “Hey, coquette, why
Does your voice from mouth slowly fly?”
“Because my mouth’s tiny – every word
Being sliced goes out” was her reply.

*****

Oh, my sick heart’s always become humble,
And my memory’s not free from trouble.
This existence didn’t give its fruits,
Thus my costly life, oh God, has crumbled.

*****

The worst sorrow in the world is parting,
But estrangement’s the most devastating.
It’s beyond my power to leave you,
You’re my soul, to leave it means departing.

*****
Sometimes I feel that I am out of love,
A griefless pleasure lives with me above,
When I meet a beauty all at once,
To myself – to be fool – I allow.

*****

In the evening I wiped my looking-glass,
When it was clean I quickly cast a glance.
I saw so many faults of mine in it,
I forgot of other’s faults at once.

*****

From everywhere I see a grievous stone,
I open my eyes and catch a glimpse of frown.
Till when I see a head instead of knee,
Should I smash my bright ideas down?

*****

Find a man of wisdom to converse,
Or call a beauty to sit face to face.
If you cannot search out them both
Don’t waste time, sit yourself in this case.

*****

We are surprised of living in the world,
As a lantern, rangers we are called.
If the sun is light, the world’s a lantern,
At nights we knock about as a doll.

*****

A man of note is a costly pearl,
Who thinks a little will remain to whirl.
Loveless one in this world can’t be perfect,
To make not pots but a potter is the goal!

*****

Restraint is tasteless and piety’s without salt,
It’s a very pity that unsavory is fault.
Water washed away the salt of everything,
Wind blew off all flavor – everything was spoilt.

*****

We thought of God and went to bare steppe,
From the world of body to spirits took a step.
All day long I meditated seventy-two years,
I went surprised and vagabonded taking a nap.

*****

Until you have the bravery and zeal,
Do not give your beloved to reveal.
If a branch of tree grows over walls,
Passers-by – its nutty fruits – may steal.

*****

We are free from slavery of grief and we’re not sad,
When we’re hungry we eat sorrow and thus we’re glad.
We don’t care of smell and color of vigilance,
We are of one generation with narcissus, in fact.

*****

Our pearl is pure with red wine,
We drank and glasses shed banquet of brine.
We don’t know today where are we,
On the wine or under it we pine.

 

*****

That pilgrim came back from Mekka and Mino,
Don’t feel a man returned from Caaba, no, no.
Say: a snake turned into dragon in pilgrimage,
Say: a homeless changed his faith and credo.

*****

Don’t make friends with the world, this heavy friend is empty,
There is nothing but enmity and its trend is empty.
You may live a thousand years but death will come at last,
You may have all the wealth, anyway, the end is empty.

*****

This world is torment from its starting moment,
Honest people can’t avoid of lament.
I want to be a devoted person’s dog,
The dog is better than a faithless mate.

*****

A ratty person always has heartache,
He’ll be captive to go for God’s sake.
Who debates with bad man for goodness,
A bright fortune for himself he’ll make.

*****

Soil – it is heads of the people wise,
Sands are their pearl teeth, brow and eyes.
Those aren’t cypress, tulip or willow,
It’s their figure, hair and ruddy face, so nice.

*****

Poor is this heart and I’m tired of life at all,
Having felt for long time “it’s a pitiable” I call.
As if I put a crown on my head
Anyway with a heavy load I will fall.
*****

Your refusal is better than your reception,
Evil-doing is better than your perception,
You’re giaour but you pretend to be a Muslim,
If Muslims like you, better is tergiversation.

*****

 

 

Make the truth – verity and make untruth – curst,
Make a god man glad and a bad one the worst.
A sage is invaluable and ignoramus is respected,
Oh God, destroy this unjust world and burst.

*****

Hey, heart, again are you captive of the belle,
Have you been captured by the oppressor-girl?
Yet being not released from the other one,
Another fairy-like will take you prisoner as well.

*****

My sweetheart asked: “Why are you so sad and weary?
Did you fall in love with any fairy?
I gave her a looking glass and replied:
The one in the mirror made me dreary.

*****

On the ruddy face a cloud is mask until now,
Desire and wine – my soul could ask – until now.
Don’t sleep; life is slipping at a run until now,
Drink wine, my beloved, wine is the sun until now.

*****

When I call you to mind, my heart will be pure,
In a morning breeze a blossoming yard will be pure.
Your face is a holiday for me, when I see it
Memory’s good, soul’s glad, every part will be pure.

*****

I washed my soul quite with my tear,
It became clean and shined as a mirror.
My eye-water washed the dust of sorrow,
I cried until my heart turned into a mirror.

*****

My naughty beloved’s words are very sweet,
Making hundreds of tricks with eyebrows she’ll greet.
She smiles a happy smile and asks me to kiss her,
And in a secret place she would like to meet.

*****

If I knew your coming I would place
A thousand of flowers on your ways.
Then my eyelashes would gather them to make
A pupil of my eyes from your pace.

*****

On this day the price of a log and wood is the same,
The rank of Haleel and Namrood is the same.
Who is proud and drunken of his own wealth,
Voice of donkey and Daoud is the same.

*****

Hey, good-looker, cypress-figured, ruddy face,
I wish your friend would never fall into disgrace.
Though a plane-tree is very beautiful in the garden,
Are a plane-tree and a branch of flower diverse?

*****

The world’s elephant cannot stop our zeal,
And from our fame the world will thrill.
Suppose, an ant takes a place in our midst,
It turns to a lion in a blink from our will.

*****

If you’ve an elephant’s strength, be like an ant,
Be like a naked man if you’ve the two world’s grant.
When you see some people’s mistakes in your life
Blind yourself about them, as blind, you act.

*****

When death came to my beloved to take,
I cried bitter tears and clouds stayed all of a shake.
Who visited her in the graveyard, they said:
“What a pity, such a beauty is in the ground-black.”

*****

I am full with grief and distress, what can I do?
If I don’t deserve love and grace, what can I do?
To my deep regret I cannot see you now,
It will be in doomsday, seeing your face, what can I do?

*****

I tell you, never go to a person’s house,
Don’t take to eat his food to your mouth.
Your own dry bread and water is better
Than the requiring gratitude of stranger’s roast.

*****

Look at this way: all the main keys passed away,
From ignorance your friends – backing trees passed away.
Too close and dear for you they were,
They are not present, your devotees passed away.

Translated by Azam Abidov

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