Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul

As we progress through Poetry Month, I have been reading many of my old poetry books. Some are journals into which Momma placed her favorites poems, which are now my favorite poems. One of my absolute top ten poems is:

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

This beautiful verse was written by MOSLIH EDDIN (MUSLIH-UN-DIN) SAADI (SADI), who was a major Persian poet of the medieval times. It is just one of the many beautiful verses in his book Gulistan ("The Rose Garden").


Also from Gulistan, is the verse which visitors find at the entrance to the United Nations Hall of Nations. It reads:

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.


Every year at this time, I go out and get myself a hyacinth plant. Often, if visiting friends, I purchase one as a gift, adding the verse, printed out and tied to the plant.

Momma read this often. I think because it helped her to remember to see the beauty in life, even when things felt like they were falling down around her ears. Funny thing, this is exactly what it does for me, too.

Concentrating on the beauty of the hyacinth...its smell, its color, the perfection of its flowers...takes away stress, "feeds the soul," and helps make life a wee bit brighter. Combine the beauty of the hyacinth with the beauty of Saadi's poem and you have the best stress relief outside a bottle!


Anonymous said…
Hi Linda!!

Thank you for that awesome comment!! I was indeed aware it was poetry month. :)

I SO love that verse you've posted!
Dave Erwin said…
Thank you for the hyacinth poem. I have been looking for the source of that for a long time. Have loved it for about 35 years--but never knew who penned it.
Rev. Linda said…
You're welcome, Dave!

It is a lovely poem...my Mom's favorite.

Peace, Linda
Anonymous said…
I too have wondered where this beautiful poem came from but cannot find it in The Gulistan (English version). Can someone please let me know which Chapter and Story.
The translation is found in the book Saadi's Rose Garden by James Terry White. This is a link to the page it is on.

I cannot find it in the Gulistan translation, either.

Unknown said…
This is great. Buying yourself flowers, and for your friends then adding this poem is a wonderful thing to do.
Anonymous said…
I never heard this poem until today, Oct. 11, 2018, when I watched an old Death Valley Days episode "Dress for a Desert Girl". I just had to look it up since it was so very much like something my mother used to say. I doubt very much if she had ever read this poem but she had the sentiment perfectly. She said it this way: "Every now and then you just have to buy yourself some flowers", of course meaning the same thing, to do something nice for yourself. This came from a mother of 6 that was always doing for others, putting her own needs/wants aside. I have followed her example for 60+ years. Thanks, Mom.

When my parents were newlyweds in the mid 1940's after WWII, they didn't have much, particularly when we four children came along. Both of my parents loved poetry, my father was an English Literature teacher, a true grammarian. To show appreciation to my mother, his loving wife, he would stop by a flower shop and bring her one hyacinth - quoting this charming verse to her. As we grew older and they were doing better financially, my father would buy her a bauble here or there (jewelry). The biggest grin from her, however, was when he presented her with a simple hyacinth, and him uttering this verse!
Phyllis Reisman Kasparian
What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing! As my hyacinths came up this year, I remembered my Momma and could almost hear her reading those lines to me again.
Lisa H said…
One of my late mother's favorite quotes which she asked me to cross stitch with a hyacinth picture next to it.

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