Poem Rhythm



 Author: Behrooz Arzhangpoor

Publisher: Keykavoos Publications

Year of publishing: 2015

Subject: Non-fiction (Literature)

Language: Persian

No. of Pages: 388

Size: 14×21

Age group: adults

ISBN: 9786007840177


◙ English ,Turkish and Azary texts are available.

◙ Copy right is available in all languages.


About the book:

In this book the author provides a brief description of linguistic terminology such as: language, phoneme, alphabet, and poem and poetry meter, especially syllabic rhythm. He argues that syllabic meter is necessary to be consideration because it wasn’t studied and researched more and has not introduced well. It has often been in the shadow of prosodic rhythm. In fact, the contemporary poem has trapped in the snare of indolence due to most poets compose their works only in prosodic rhythm that is so metaphysical and complex. It is important now a new fresh air and soul is blown to Persian poem by renewing syllabic meter. In spite the lack of enough and appropriate references on the subject of the book, the writer was able to offer exact definition about the topic and accomplish with referring to different types of syllabic rhythms, has scanned several examples of Persian poems. His skill in segmentation of Turkish versified book named as “Heydar Baba” in syllabic- stopped – stressed rhythm is one of the predominant features of this book. The book is considered as one of the unique studious work in literature and could put an end to disagreement ideas among scholars on syllabic meter in Persian poem. Innovation is one of key factor that help the book be specialized. The theories explained here valid. Obviously the book will be abiding in the Iranian literature history. Since the book introduces scholarly a new style of poetic meter, I will not only influence and improve the Persian poems, but also it will be used to make evolution in poems of other languages. So, the audiences of this book are in various cultures and nations. The book has been considered in several academic and literary circles in Iran and was favored and used by the majority of research centers in the field of poetry.


About the Author:

Dr. Behrooz Arzhangpoor (1966/Iran-Naghadeh) 

Dr.Behrooz Arzhangpoor is an Iranian active physician, author, poet and research in the field of literature, linguistics, poetry and social issues He penned articles and books, in fiction in particular, more than twenty years and has given lectures in prominent literary and scientific meetings and conferences in Iran and abroad. Arzhangpoor is one of the few Iranian authors has penned on syllable poetic style and known as the founder of a new poetic style of syllabic-stop-stress. His book named” syllabic-stop-stress Meter “was the first book that is written in Iran and the world. Arzhangpoor married and is the father of two children and now lives in Iran. Meanwhile, treating medically in Tehran hospitals, he writes and research constantly in Literature and Poem as well. At present, Dr. Arzhangpoor has engaged in composing a long Epopee named as title “Love- letters of Sacred Defense”. In this valuable book, the writer narrates Iranian peoples’ resistance and courageous against rapists in contemporary time .The first Volume of the series has been published recently.

Some of his published books:

1- “Syllabic-stop-stress Meter” Keykavoos Publications, Tehran, 2015.

2-” Love- letters of Sacred Defense”, Raz Institute, Tehran, 2014.

3-“Promise of Miracles”, Keykavoos Publications, Tehran, 2014.

4-“Thirteen (13-volume set)”,Raz Institute ,Tehran, 2015.

5-” Persian Break time”, Raz Institute,Tehran, 2015.

6-“White Marriage”, Keykavoos Publications,Tehran, 2014.

7- “The Legand of Mayour”, Keykavoos Publications, Tehran, 2013.

8-“Barn”, Keykavoos Publications,Tehran, 2013.

  1. “Children’s Village”, of Raz Institute ,Tehran, 2015.

10.” Azerbaijan”,  of Raz Institute,Tehran, 2015.

11.” The Culture of Driving 13-volume set”, Raz Institute, Tehran, 2016

12.”Culture of Civilizenship , Raz Institute, Tehran 2016.


 Sample Pages:

Table of Contents 

Author’s preface


Chapter one – Description of language

Chapter two –   Phoneme transcription in Persian language

Chapter thee – The alphabet of rhythm

Chapter four – The meaning of poetry.

Chapter five –   Description of the rhythm of poetry

Chapter six –    History of rhythm in Persian poetry

Chapter seven – Need for Persian syllabic, halting, stressed         poetry.

Chapter eight   – Local songs

Chapter nine    – The rhythm of folk poems

Chapter ten      – Defining the rhythm of syllabic, halting, stressed poetry

Chapter eleven – Problems with the rhythm of syllabic/ halting/stressed poetry

Chapter twelve – Research conducted in the past

Chapter thirteen – Rhythm of Persian syllabi/halting/ stressed poems

Chapter fourteen – Stress

Chapter fifteen    – Different rhythms in syllabic, halting, stressed poems.

Chapter sixteen   – Segmentation of syllabic/halting/stressed poems

Chapter seventeen – Segmentation of Heyday Baba Salam.

Chapter eighteen    – Conclusion


     As of 2004 I became interested to work in the field of poetry, but I didn’t know which field of poetry to pursue. At one hand I had no enough knowlefgve4 about poetic styles and after a few years of contemplation I decided to make fix the field of my studies. I wished not to produce a repeated work for the reader and wished that the time I allocated to write or work on poetry would be worth the while. Suddenly I discovered an excellent subject to zoom which aside from all the Iranian writers as well as the others poets in the world would dedicate their time to it would still be worthwhile to spend more time on it.

And that sublime subject was the Sacred Defense (Defense against the war that was imposed on Iran by Iraq) describing the operation of the warriors who sacrificed everything and defended the sacred territories of Iran. At that juncture I planned, if possible and if God helped me, to describe all the operations of the Iranian fighters in poetry, but the main problem was the second part of it i.e. poetry. I was very fond of poetry especially Chahriyar’s Turkich poems but I had no knowledge of poetic techniques and systems.

At the beginning I wished to write poetry and wrote things resembling poetry for a few years, but I couldn’t digest them. Then I tried of study the methods of poetry. I began studying the classic Persian prosaic poetry but I didn’t feel sympathy for them. After that I concentrated on modern or free verse which didn’t satisfy me again. Then I remembered the book about the Turkish Metric Syllabic Poetry of my dear friend Zeinolabedin Babapouri Asl (hereinafter referred as Babapour). I read it carefully and since the majority of the Turkish poems of the Chahryar were hejayee (syllabic) poetry I became fond of composing poetry with syllabic meter. I began adding my knowledge about this subject   and visited many libraries and talked with literary professors. Unfortunately contrary to my expectation they didn’t have enough knowledge about syllabic meter and the few scholars who had written articles about that sort of poetry their remarks was very scanty and imperfect and didn’t serve my purpose. Nevertheless I didn’t lose my hope. I composed poems of syllabic style in the morning and erased them in the evening. I wrote and wrote and erased and erased until I came to a definite conclusion.

The result of my round labor proved that there was no lack of poets who to compose that sort of poetry in Iran but lack of a guidebook that spelled out the meter of syllabic poetry. It occurred to me that writing a book about the rhythm of syllabic, halting, stressed poetry was much more important than composing such \verses. As a result I postponed the composition of poems about Sacred Defense and with the help of learned scholars such as Zeinolabedin Babapour and Dr. Omid Tabibzadeh, and others I wrote a guidebook about this system of poetry. In this book I have benefited from Dr. Tabibzadeh’s dissertation about the meter and system of syllabic stressed poems. Although in many cases the opinion of Dr. Tabibzadeh differs with mine, in order to observe good ethics I must give precedence to that scholar and then insert my opinion. I hope the posterity will study the opinions of Dr. Tabibzadeh and mine with critical eye and shall make precious remarks and suggestions so that the defects shall be removed. Not only the birth or death of this system but any other style depends on the constructive commentary of linguistics.

As a consequence I hope that all the poets including the younger ones will continue to study the rhythm of Persian syllabic, halting, stressed poetry so that we may hear new opinions about this sort of poetry.

We need enough information not only to distinguish the rhythm of Persian syllabic, halting and stressed poetry but to understand every sort of poetry. Without such knowledge surely it would be very difficult and almost impossible to understand and acquire knowledge about this poetry.

From historical point of view the oldest date when Dari language was used was 5the century B.C or the end of the Sassanid Period. From that time until 9th century A.D. (4th century A.H.), Dari language suffered three centuries of silence or prohibition. During these silent years with the exception of poems I mentioned before I have found nothing worth for study (R.K. Rampis (1930, Sadeghi (pp. 54-99), Ribka et al, 2002, pp187-202).

These brief remarks and commentaries might be enough to underline the importance of Dari grammar and syntax when the alphabet of the language was invented, but it is absolutely difficult to distinguish the weight of the Dari language. The poems surviving from that period are nearly limited to the following (see R.K. Sadeghi, 1978, pp. 54-99for further explanation about the matter in question):

  1. Poem ascribed to King Bahram and mentioned by

Bayen Khordazbeh in Al-Masalek va al-Mamalek during the 3rd century A.H.):

Manam chir-e chalambeh         Va manam babreh taleh

(I am the lion of the buch          and I am the tiger of the trap)

2.A song of people of Bokhara, composed in the beginning of the first century A.H. and mentioned in  Asma-ul-Maftalin by Abu Jafar, Mohammad Ibn Habib Baghdadi, (3rd century A.H.), quoted by Sadeghi (1878, p.66):

 Koor-e Khamir amad                     khatoon-e dorough gonde

(The blind man of Khamir came,    the lady came who told big lies).

  1. A poem said to have been composed by Yazid Ibn Mefragh- Hamiri, a poet of the first century A.H., quoted in Al-Rosol va- al-Moluk, by Tabari:

   Ab ast nabiz ast, Assarat zabib ast; Somaye ro sabiz ast.

  1. Poem about children of Balkh, second century A.H. mentioned in “Al-Rosol va al-Moluk (Prophets and Countries):

Az khatlan amadid       Boro tabah amadid;

Abar baz amadid       Khoskhk nezar amadid.

  1. A poem ascribed to Abol Yanbaghi Abbas Ibn Tarkhan, end of 2nd century A.H or the beginning of 3rd century A.H. and mentioned in al-Masalek va ul-Mamalek:

Samarghand konad monad        be zinat ki afkhand

Az chach na behi                         Hami chah na jahi

According to Zeinolabedin Babapour these are fictitious phrases and labored couplets which do not belong to any poet and are fabricated by unknown authors for certain reasons, because except in their books one cannot trace such jargon in other valid books.

Dr. Omid Tabibzadeh says, (also see R.K. Rampis, 1960) “Naturally one cannot describe the real meter of Persian Dari language when it was newly born. Dr. Ali Achraf Sadeghi says that these poems are not prosodic (Sadeghi, 1984). Ahmad Rajaee Bokharaee (1826, p54) and Bahar, the poet laureate (1972), consider these poems as prosodic (hejayee) and Adeeb Toosi has tried in a lengthy dissertation to prove that the meter of these poems are syllabic and stressed (See Toosi , 1953).

The same is true with regard to the rhythm of Middle Persian or Pahlavi language. According to rare books such as Derakht-e Assurik and Yadegar-e Zariran, different opinions have been expressed about the meter of Pahlavi poetry. Benonist (1951, p193-225) and Neyberg (1950, p193-p210) maintain that the rhythm of these poems are syllabic. Henning (1971 p641-648) considers them as stressed and Bahar, the poet laureate (1972, p68-p74), and Khanlari` (1966, p38-75) maintain that these poems are quantitative effusions (also see Khaleghi Motlagh, 1890, p46-63, Ribca et al 2002, p195-6, Abolghasemi, 1995 p64, 101-8).

Maybe it is not accidental that French researchers believe that the rhythm of Pahlavi poems is similar to French syllabic poems. Hanning, who is German, considers Pahlavi poetic meter as stressed like German poetry. Connoisseurs of prosody like Bahar and Khanlari who were accustomed to Prosodic poems consider the rhythm of such poems as prosodic. When we have few examples we have no choice but to resort to guesswork and imagination and in such cases the mind automatically inclines to more familiar genres (See Tropetskoy, 1950).

The problem to correctly define the rhythm doesn’t merely stem from understanding the poem.  That different people express different opinion of a given poem is natural. It is neither new nor is only related to the rhythm of the poem. When several interpretations of a scientific subject is expressed often a description which is simpler and covers the reality is chosen as the best opinion. Regard to poetry ,distinguished connoisseurs of meter expression contrasting different opinions as well.

The biggest problem is that these poems have descended to us in written form and the lines in which they are recorded are defective and do not correctly reflect the polemic character of such languages. In order to define the rhythm of a poem one needs to listen to it. The format of recorded works although ample and accessible, is not enough to determine the meter of a poem. No script can point out the stressed characteristics of a poem in a proper manner.

Even listening alone is not enough to understand and distinguish the rhythm of a poem.

 For example, Arabic Prosodic rhythm in very popular and loved by the Arabs, but it is not only unpleasant to Iranian but not even harmonic. For example ‘faoolan and mafaeelan which is the basis of bahre taveel in Arabic poetry is not pleasant and harmonic among Persians with the exception of a few couplets which have been composed for diversion or testing one’s style or instruction in books describing Prosodic and poems with such rhythm have been composed in Persian language (see Seifi and Jami, 1993, pp33-71; Najafi, 1980, p592).

According to Avicenna the reason the Persian speakers do not understand some of the Arabic rhythms is that they aren’t accustomed to such meters (Mirsadeghi, 1994). Chams-e Gheis believes that they are unrevealed secrets and cannot be discovered (Chams-e Gheis-e Razi 1987). We cannot discard or doubt the opinion of Chams-e Gheis but we can easily reject Avicenna’s opinion. If human mind treats some rhythms as harmonic and some as dicharmonic how is it that some poems used for the first time strike as harmonious to human ear, but the meters which have been used for centuries and poems with such meters never strike harmonies to the ear such the combination of mostafalan, faelatan faelatan which was not popular before Bahar became acceptable. Example:

Bar takhtgah-e tajarrod sultan-e namvaramman;

Ba sirat-e malakooti dar soorat-e bacharam man.

The unpopular combination of motefaalan, mosta’falan, mostafaalan, etc. Don’t strike as agreeable although used in some prose books (Najafi, 1, 80, pp593-4). The more beat syllables in a meter is foreign to the ear the more difficult it is for comprehension by hearing. The reason that some Arabic rhythms are unpleasant and discordant to the ear of Persian speaking people is because of that above fact (in this regard also see Satten, 1976, pp65-74). It is not without reason that the rhythm of poetry is taught to foreigners when the learner has attained the highest stages of language learning because in order to understand a meter and distinguish the nature of the meter not only one must hear the rhythm in different poems but as the linguistics say the learner a native of that language.

Quoting from professor Maar, a Russian professor of oriental languages, Dr. Khanlari says, “I have often heard poems pretended to be syllabic but I doubt whether they are entirely syllabic…As long as Iranian national and local poems are heard in songs or ordinary conversation and carefully researched and as long as researchers who are native of a specific regions fail to conduct research in this field we cannot definitely express an opinion about syllabic system (Khanlari, 1994, p64. Also see professor Maar, 1934).

For example, compared to ancient Greek or Latin, the German poetry was thought to be prosaic, but at the beginning of the 19th century Carl Lakhman, a connoisseur of meter, said the rhythm of German poetry might have been syllabic. After that many scholars accepted his definition. These two different points of view continued for several decades until at the end of the 19th century Lakhman’s theory about syllabic system of German poetry became dominant and to a great extent the prosodic version of German poetry was discarded.

Of course ,still in some German traditional schools or religious seminaries which give too much weight to the ancient Latin the rhythm of German poetry is instructed in syllabic meter, but in modern schools and colleges and scientific institutions German poem is taught on the basis of Lakhman’s theory which is simpler and has many followers (Fry,1996-200)

As another example one can refer to Arabic classic poetry which is generally known to possess syllabic rhythm. But during the middle of the twentieth century Gathold Ville, after lengthy research about Arabic poetry, declared that the role of stress in this meter was more important than other characteristics and called it stressed rhythm (Ville, 1958). His theory immediately excited a series of reactions and met with many followers and opponents. One can mention Stutsser as most serious opponent of Ville’s theory. In his comprehensive dissertation about Arabic poetry based on various reasons Stutsser rejected Ville’s theory and declared that Arabic poetry is completely prosaic and accent  has no role in it (Stutsser, 1989, also see Halle, 1966, Bergnissi, 1993). With regard to Persian folklore poems one can notice a similar condition.

Information about definition of nature of the rhythm of poetry can be summarized as follows:

  1. Existence of ample examples of poems.
  2.  Listening to poetry i.e. to be able to hear and refrain from conducted research on recorded poems.
  3. A researcher who examines poetry must be master linguistic.
  4. Electing the simplest definition from among various theories.

Nowadays study of rhythm can be divided into two forms:  structuralism and generative rhythms.

The object of structuralism which incorporates all the studies made in traditional metrology more than anything defines and classifies various meters, but generative study of rhythm which began after Chamski and Halle found its form besides explaining the relation between the rhythms trace the detached relation between various meters in the world. Connoisseurs of generative rhythm try to discover all the common and international forms of meter by studying various meters in similar and interconnected forms. What is certain is that generative rhythm study without benefiting from the achievements of descriptive and structuralism cannot function.

Persian language is among languages in the world which simultaneously possesses two distinct rhythms – syllabic verses in official poems and stressed syllabic meter in folklore songs. Rhythmic or quantitative poems are the oldest Indo-European rhythms of which very little have survived, but the stressed/syllabic meter is the most popular rhythm in Indo-European meters. The similarity between these two different meters in Persian language is too excessive to merely ascribe to chance. In order to examine and define these similarities we have no choice but to study historical research. These two meters have been living beside each other in Iran for many centuries and despite many common points both of them have had their role and impact in the Persian culture. The fragment that I have mentioned at the beginning of this book displays one of the rare cases when these two rhythms are similar.

At the beginning of formation Dari language as the official language of Persia the court poets who knew Arabic created prosodic meter as a cultural and social requirement deriving from Arabic syllabic rhythm by benefiting from the basic structure of doraghs[1]. The existence of long and short sounds in that system enabled the Iranian poets to compose Persian prosodic poetry (see Omid Tabibzadeh, Analysis of Meter of Persian Folk Poems, 2003, pp15-22).

[1] . Doragh is a Turkish term and name of a place meaning a stopping point. Among researches of syllabic poetry doragh means words in poems which contain short of long pauses.

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