بنـی آدم اعضــای یک پیکـرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوی به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضـــوها را نمــاند قـرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی
Sa’adi - Ch1, Story 10, from the Golestan
If you only ever memorise one Persian poem in your life, this is the one. It’s inscribed on the entrance to the UN Hall of Nations. It easily the most relevant and most quotable Persian poem in existence. I love it because it is both empathetic and nurturing but also angry and chastising.
bani aadam azaaye yek peykarand
ke dar aafarinesh ze yek goharand
cho ozvi be dard aavarad roozegaar
degar ozvhaa raa namaanad gharaar
to kaz mehnate digaraan bi ghami
nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami
The children of Adam are limbs of one body:
Of one essence, they are created (1)
When life brings pain to one limb
The other limbs do not remain at ease.
You without grief for others’ suffering
May not be called a Human. (2)
(1) Muslims believe the whole biblical genesis story with Adam and that all humans are created from dust.
(2) There’s a punch-line here. In Persian, “aadami” means both “of Adam” and “a Human”. It implies both inhumanity and treason to your origins to be apathetic to others’ pain.