You can listen to Hejrat (Departure), as performed by Googoosh, by following this link.


With the fall of our hands, something deep inside me collapsed.

Your departure echoed through the branches, suspending the melody at its peak.

O green flowing spring, you are the perfect place for a cleansing

die and perish, the garden withers underground

The season that became 'we' with you, the season of a freshly turned leaf

The season where we became 'me' without you, the season of grey death

You tell me, which stream but you can quench my thirst?

Which garden, other than yours, provides solace for our fatigue?

Without you, I must— without you, I must weep till my last breath

I lean on your shoulders to let my tears flow.

Your eyes are unfamiliar with my sobbing, with the sound of shattering.

This shattering was silent, not everything makes a sound  

Oh companion of sorrows, this happiness must die

I have no companion but you, until night takes you away

I bid you adieu, oh traveler, may your journey be a safe one.

May the heart that gave blood to my veins beat eternally.



با سقوط دستای ما در تنم چیزی فرو ریخت

Bā saqūṭ-e dastā-ye mā, dar tanam chīzī forū rīkht

هجرتت اوج صدامو از فراز شاخه آویخت

Hijrat-et ūj-e sedāmū az farāz-e shākhe āvīkht

ای زلال سبز جاری، جای خوب غسل تعمید

Ey zollāl-e sabz jārī, jā-ye khūb-e ghosl-e ta'mīd

بی تو باید مرد و پژمرد؛ زير خاک باغچه پوسید

Bī to bāyad mord-o pazhmord; zīr-e khāk-e bāghche pūsīd

فصلی كه من با تو ما شد؛ فصل سبز خواهش برگ

Faslī ke man bā to mā shod; fasl-e sabz-e khāhesh barg

فصلی كه ما بی تو من شد؛ فصل خاکستری مرگ

Faslī ke mā bī to man shod; fasl-e khākestārī-e marg

تو بگو جز تو کدوم رود، ناجی لب‌تشنگی بود؟

To begū jaz to kodum rūd, nājī lab-e tashnagī būd

جز تو آغوش کدوم باغ، سایه‌گاه خستگی بود؟

Jaz to āghūsh kodum bāgh, sāye-gāh-e khastegī būd

بی تو باید، بی تو باید تا نفس دارم ببارم

Bī to bāyad, bī to bāyad tā nafas dāram babāram

من برای گريه کردن شونه‌هاتو کم می‌آرم

Man barāy-e gerye kardan shonaha-to kam miāram

چشم تو با هق‌هق من، با شکستن آشنا نیست

Cheshm-e to bā haq-haq-e man, bā shekastan-e āshnā nīst

این شکستن بی‌صدا بود، هر صدایی که صدا نیست

Īn shekastan bī-sedā būd, har sedā-yī ke sedā nīst

ای رفیق ناخوشی‌ها، این خوشی باید بمیره

Ey rafīq-e nākhoshī-hā, īn khoshī bāyad bemīre

جز تو همراهی ندارم تا شب از من پس بگیره

Jaz to hamrāhī nadāram tā shab az man pas begīre

با تو بدرود ای مسافر، هجرت تو بی‌خطر باد

Bā to be-dorūd ey mosāfer, hijrat-e to bī-khatar bād

پرتپش باشه دلی که خون به رگ‌های تنم داد

Portapesh bāshe delī ke khūn be raghā-ye tanam dād

Translator's Note

As the child of exiled Iranians caught between their yearning for my assimilation into the upper middle-class white American culture prevalent in Tehrangeles, the realm of Persian music became not only my refuge but also a profound connection to my heritage. However, it wasn't until my late twenties and early thirties that lyrics truly took center stage, overshadowing the captivating beats and rhythms that had permeated my world until then. It was Shahyar Ghanbari’s lyrics for "Hejrat" that brought about a transformative shift in me. These words resonated within me like none other. I found myself listening to it on repeat, internalizing every lyric, savoring its meter, poetry, and profound meaning. The beauty of the prose and imagery struck me to the core, igniting a deep desire to translate this incredible masterpiece from Persian into English. My purpose extended beyond catering to non-Persian speakers; I aimed to unlock the full potential of this lyrical treasure trove for first-generation Iranian Americans like myself, who grew up surrounded by its enchantment but lacked the key to fully comprehend its depths.

While growing up, I had been mesmerized by the tunes of Iranian pop icon Googoosh. She transcends the boundaries of mere entertainment; she symbolizes resistance, resilience, and the enduring spirit of a people. Her beautiful voice and groundbreaking contributions challenged societal norms, especially during a period of political upheaval. Googoosh's impact reverberates globally, resonating with diaspora communities and transcending generational gaps. Her ability to infuse emotion and depth into her performances has earned her an enduring place in the hearts of fans worldwide. Googoosh's career trajectory also serves as a poignant reflection of Iran's sociopolitical evolution. From the height of her fame in pre-revolutionary Iran to her triumphant return to the stage after a prolonged silence, Googoosh's journey mirrors the resilience of Iranian culture amidst adversity. The prohibition of female solo singing in Iran after the Islamic Revolution only intensified her significance as a symbol of artistic freedom and cultural heritage.

"Hejrat" stands as one of Googoosh's final mega-hits in Iran prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which led to the prohibition of female solo singing in the country and the rise of a multimedia hub centered in Los Angeles. Googoosh remained in Iran until the year 2000. The significance of "Hejrat" became evident when Googoosh chose to perform it as her first song on stage after a 21-year hiatus, captivating the audience at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. Since then, "Hejrat" has served as a poignant allegory, symbolizing Googoosh's personal departure from her beloved Iran and her triumphant return to her cherished audience. The deliberate selection of this song for Googoosh's highly anticipated comeback, following a prolonged silence of 21 years, underscores its profound significance.

The lyrics of "Hejrat" beautifully incorporate Persian cultural tropes related to nature and the heavenly garden, transforming the tale of lovers into a metaphor for the changing seasons. The refrain particularly highlights vivid references to the Persian paradisiac garden. It's important to note that while "Hijra" in Arabic (الهجرة) refers to the historical journey of Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622, the Persian rendition of the word transforms the Arabic ta marbuta (ة) into a t (ت), resulting in "Hejrat" (هجرت). In the context of the song, it is unlikely that poet Shahyar Ghanbari alluded to the prophetic migration. Instead, the final stanza suggests a lover's departure or flight. Although the musical composition is considered entirely 'modern,' the poetic tropes within "Hejrat" are inherently Persian. Ghanbari's masterful poem delicately intertwines themes of love and separation with imagery of the seasons, nature, loss, blossoming, and decay.

As of the present moment, Googoosh is gracefully bidding farewell to the stage with her "Fasleh Akhar" tour, approaching her mid-70s. While she anticipates retiring from live performances, her forthcoming memoir in English promises to offer new insights into her remarkable journey. Undoubtedly, Googoosh remains the unparalleled pop icon of modern Iranian history, cherished by the majority and an indelible symbol of Iranian culture.

Richard Nedjat-Haiem


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