Face the Darkness, Welcome the Light

Face the Darkness, Welcome the Light

By WNYC Studios

Notes from America

Monday, 20 December

Do you need a revival?  On the longest night of the year, join us to celebrate Yalda, a poetic Persian tradition. Then, a conversation about those we’ve lost with jazz and gospel artist Gregory Porter.


Here’s the translation of the Hafez poem read by Armen Davoudian at the end of our show:

Ghazal 43 (Hafez)

The orchard charms our hearts, and chatter when our dearest friends appear – is sweet;

God bless the time of roses! To drink our wine among the roses here – is sweet!

Our souls’ scent sweetens with each breeze; ah yes, the sighs that lovers hear – are sweet.

Sing, nightingale! Rosebuds unopened yet will leave you, and your fear – is sweet;

Dear singer of the night, for those in love your sad lament is clear – and sweet.

The world’s bazaar contains no joy, except the libertine’s; food cheer – is sweet!

I heard the lilies say, “The world is old, to take things lightly here – is sweet.”

Hafez, the happy heart ignores the world; don’t think dominion here – is sweet.

— Translated by Dick Davis in Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shriaz (Penguin)


You can watch the live-streamed Yalda event mentioned in the show. Here is the information:

Tuesday, Dec. 21st, 9PM Eastern/ 6PM, PST

Instagram:  @iraniandiaspora studies Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CenterforIranianDiasporaStudies YouTube: Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies 

“Celebrating Shab-e Yalda” is a pre-recorded event premiering on the longest night of the year, Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM. This very special program includes poetry reading and a performance from Paris-based opera singer and composer Ariana Vafadari and California-based singer Sima Shahverdi, as well as a ceremonial lighting of candles to bring light and warmth to this night.

Co-presented by The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University and the Diaspora Arts Connection, this is a free event and no registration is required. All you have to do is tune in to our Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube channels on the evening of December 21 to watch.


Companion Listening:

How the Dead Still Speak to Us (11/1/2021)

This Halloween, we reveal its history and why connecting to the dead is important to so many, from Ireland, to Mexico, to NYC. Plus a guided meditation to help you connect, too.


“The United States of Anxiety” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. 

We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

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