The story goes that any Iranian household is likely to have three books: the Koran, Shanameh, the epic tales of pre-Islamic Persia told in verse by Ferdowsi in the 10th century, and The Divan, a book of poetry by Hafez, written in the 14th century. OK, so I understand the Koran. It would be comparable to having the Bible in an American Christian household. But two books of poetry? Add to that the fact that many Iranians are able to quote from these books, sing parts of them, and that they visit their tombs with great enthusiasm and in prodigious numbers. It is quite remarkable and again and again we experienced the influence of these two men and their books on the culture of Iran.
Of course there are many wonderful Persian writers and poets. But I'm going to tell you about these two because they both came to have some meaning for me and we too visited their tombs.