Manavaz Alexandrian
Translator of the Poems

(Photo: Masoud)



Research: Iran

Baba Taher

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Literature: Poems
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Selected quatrains of Baba Taher Oryan

You who haven't studied planets in the space,
You who haven't gone to the wine-bibber's place,
You who know not your gain or your loss,
How can you reach the dwelling of the mistress?

My pain and my cure is from the friend,
My union and parting is from the friend,
Should the butcher pull my skin off my flesh,
My soul shall never stay apart from the friend.

Happy mountains, happy mountains and the plain,
Happy those who sowed these buttercups in the plain,
Where are they? Where they went? Where shall they go
- those mountains, the deserts and the plain?

A groaning farmer in this fated field,
With bloody eyes lilies sowed and tilled,
He sowed and sowed and I heard him say: Alas
One must sow them and leave them in this field."

He who is a lover fears not to die,
A lover neither fears jail nor the iron tie,
A loving heart is like a hungry wolf,
For the wolf doesn't fear a shepherd's cry.

Happy are those who are fools indeed,
Who can neither write nor can read,
Who like lover Majnoun wander in the desert,
Or roam in the mountains and the deer they feed.

I'm that old man, libertine they call me,
I own neither an anchor, shed or family;
All the day I wander through the world,
At nights I lay on dust in the alley.

God forbid the day when in the tomb they will lay,
And cover my body with gravel and clay,
Neither I shall have legs to escape serpents,
Nor hands to fight worms who will eat my body away.

I complain from the inverted spheres, 
For my heart is bleeding with a thousand cares,
My darling is surrounded by pointed thorns,
How can I be merry with all these cares?

Come mourners, let us together mourn,
From the faithless darling, let's together mourn,
Let's sit with lover bulbul in the garden,
If the bulbul fails to lament, we shall mourn.

When I look at the plain I see you there,
When I look at the sea, I see you there,
Wherever I look, whether in mountain or dale,
I see your beautiful image painted there.

I am the sea compressed into the bowl,
I am the dot that completes the vowel,
In every thousand men one rises higher,
I am the best of men, the most civil.

A thousand pains torture my chest,
A blazing furnace glows in my breast,
At down when I break into sigh, behold
A thousand rivals are burnt by the tempest.

Should my hand the revolving spheres reach,
From Almighty Maker I shall ask which is which?
Why one man must enjoy a hundred bounties,
Yet another eat oats running in the bloody ditch?

On Alvand's skirt a flower I planted,
I watered all the day, well tended the bed,
When it grew and I sought its heavenly scent
The wind blew the perfume, to other regions spread.

I regret, I regret, I regret, 
When I see the caravan pass quit by sunset,
To all the ancient world has been faithless,
In vain we carry the load, in vain we sweat. 

Old have I grown, my wit is dead,
My vigor is spent, my youth expended,
They tell me to go and watch the buttercup,
What can I see? My eyesight is fled.

My heart's grief resembles the wailing reed,
All the time for your absence I'm worried, 
I must burn and lament, till doomsday I must burn,
God knows when doomsday will dawn indeed.

At dawn I chanced through tombs to pass,
I heard a groaning voice sigh and wail across;
A scull was addressing the earth, saying:
"This world is not worth the grass."

Drunk though with red wine our faith is in you,
Weak and helpless though, we believe in you,
Whether Zoroastrian, Christian or Muslim
Whatever our faith, we worship only you.

Your portion is to inflict pain, mine to bear,
Your lot is to shed blood, mine to drink with tear;
Shall you hear my wailing if I lament?
Sweet is the sword from you as my neck to my dear.

 

 

Research: Classic Poems
Classic Works of the World
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