Monday, December 16, 2013

Like a Good Lover

—Forugh Farrokhzad, Iran, 1935-1967

I never wanted to be a star
in the sky's mirage,
a select soul
or an unspeaking friend of angels.
I never left the earth
or took up with stars.

I stand on the earth
and my body like a plant
absorbs wind, sun, and water
to stay alive.

I'm looking out the window.
I'm an echo,
not eternal,
and look for nothing but a song's echo.
In the wailing chant is joy
and better than the plain silence of pain.
I look for no refuge
in the dew on the lily of my body.

People walking by have written memories
with a black line of love
on the walls of my life's cottage.
Arrows are in my heart,
the candle is upside down.
What are left are quiet dots of faded colors
in puzzling words of madness.

Every lip against my lips
conceived a star
and floated on the night river of my memories.
What good is a star?

(trans. from the Persian by Girdhard Tikku)


—Forugh Farrokhzad

I'm sad
I'm sad

I go to the veranda and feel with my fingers
The taut skin of the night

No one will introduce me
To the sun
No one will take me to the feast of the sparrows

Keep in mind the flight
The bird is to die

(trans. by Reza Baraheni)


—Forugh Farrokhzad

I'll greet the sun once more—
that stream running in me
those clouds unfurling my thoughts
pangs of the growing poplar grove
through seasons of drought
crows flying with me
offering the scent
of their fields at night
my mother who showed me my old age
in the mirror where she lived
and the earth, swollen with greening seeds,
lusting to make me again—
I'll greet them all

I'll come    I'll come    I'll come
my hair trailing its underground scents
my eyes heavy variations of darkness
herbs in my hands culled in those woods beyond the wall

I'll come    I'll come    I'll come
and the gate will be all love
and those who love
and that girl waiting there still
in the gate of love—I'll greet them all once more

(trans. by Jascha Kessler with Amin Banani)

—Forugh Farrokhzad

I sinned, a sin all filled with pleasure

wrapped in an embraced, warm and fiery

I sinned in a pair of arms

that were vibrant, virile, violent.

In that dim and quiet place of seclusion

I looked into his eyes brimming with mystery

my heart throbbed in my chest all too excited

by the desire glowing in his eyes.

In that dim and quiet place of seclusion

as I sat next to him all scattered inside

his lips poured lust on my lips

and I left behind the sorrows of my heart.

I whispered in his ear these words of love:

“I want you, mate of my soul

I want you, life-giving embrace

I want you, lover gone mad”

Desire surged in his eyes

red wine swirled in the cup

my body surfed all over his
in the softness of the downy bed.

I sinned, a sin all filled with pleasure

next to a body now limp and languid

I know not what I did, God

in that dim and quiet place of seclusion.

(trans. by Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak)


—Forugh Farrokhzad

My death will come someday to me

One day in spring, bright and lovely

One winter day, dusty, distant

One empty autumn day, devoid of joy.

My death will come someday to me

One bittersweet day, like all my days

One hollow day like the one past

Shadow of today or of tomorrow.

My eyes tune to half dark hallways

My cheeks resemble cold, pale marble

Suddenly sleep creeps over me

I become empty of all painful cries.

Slowly my hands slide o’er my notes

Delivered from poetry’s spell,

I recall that once in my hands

I held the flaming blood of poetry.

The earth invites me into its arms,

Folks gather to entomb me there

Perhaps at midnight my lovers

Place above me wreaths of many roses.

(trans. by Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak)


Today's LittleNip:

If you really care for me
like a good lover,
kiss this string of pearls
and kiss
my small mouth of cherries.

(Hispano-Arabic jarcha, 1000-1300, trans. from the Spanish by Willis Barnstone)



To learn more about Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, see