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Research: Iran

Sohrab Sepehri

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Literature: Poems of Iranian Poet, Sohrab Sepehri
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The Primeval Call, Translated to English by M. Alexandrian
Where are my shows?
Who was it who called Sohrab?
It was a familiar voice like the touch of the wind on the leave.
My mother is asleep
So are Manouchehr and Parvaneh and perhaps all the townsfolk.
The June night passes gently over seconds like an elegy,
And a cool breeze from the corner of the blanket sweeps my sleep.
It smells of separation:
My pillow is full of the song of the swallow plumes.

Morning shall break,
The sky will migrate
With this cup of water.

I must go tonight!
I who spoke to the folk in this region through the widest window, 
Never heard a word that matched time;
No loving eye stared at the ground;
Nobody was enchanted by looking at the garden,
Nobody took a magpie seriously at a farm.
I am dejected like a cloud.
When I behold Houri - the neighbor's full grown lass -
Studying theology 
At the foot of the rarest elm tree on earth.

There are other things also - moments of exaltation 
(For example I saw a poetess
So absorbed watching the horizon 
That the sky laid eggs in her eyes;
And one night out of other nights,
A man questioned me:
"How long does it take to the rising of grapes?)

Tonight I must go!
I must take a suitcase
Big enough to contain my shirt of loneliness
And walk in a direction
Where epic-singing trees can be seen;
Towards the vast wordless expanse which keeps calling me.
Someone called me again: Sohrab!,
Where are my shoes?
There Is No Cloud
There is no cloud,
There is no wind,
I sit beside the pond,
The swimming fishes, light, I, flower, water,
The pureness of the cluster of life;
My mother reaps the sweet basil,
Bread, sweet basil, cheese, a cloudless sky, wet garden petunia,
Salvation is at hand: within the garden flowers.

Over the foot-bath in a copper bowl, what caresses the light pours,
The ladder at the garden corner, brings morning on earth,
A smile hides behind everything,
The time's wall has a hole through which my face is seen;
There are things which I don't know;
I know that I will die if I cut away a leaf,
I ascend, rise to the peak, I posses wings and feathers,
I can see in the darkness, I'm brimful of lanterns,
I'm brimful of cloud and earth,
I'm brimful of sun and sand,
I'm brimful of vines,
I'm brimful of path, of bridge, of river, of wave,
I'm brimful of the shadows of reeds in the water,
I'm brimful of the movement of that willow tree at the garden's end.
How my inside is empty.
An Oasis in the Moment
If you come to visit me,
You will find me behind the realm of naught.
Behind naught there is a place
Where the veins of the air is full of dandelions
Who bring the happy tidings of flowers blossoming at the farthest bush.
Over the sands also you can see the delicate footsteps of the horseman who mounted the anemone hill of ascension at morning.
Beyond the realm of naught, the umbrella of desire has been spread
So that the breeze of thirst can run into the root of the leave,
The siren of the rain resounds.
One is lonely here,
And in this loneliness the shade of an elm tree stretches to eternity.
If you come to visit me,
Come gently and slowly lest the fragile china
of my solitude cracks.
Water
Let's not muddy the brook;
Perhaps a pigeon is drinking water at a distance,
Or perhaps in a farther thicket a goldfinch is washing her feathers,
Or a pitcher is being filled in a village.

Let's not muddy the brook;
Perhaps this brook runs to a poplar's foot,
to wash away the grief of a lonely heart.

A dervish may be dipping dry bread in the brook.

A beautiful lady walked to the brink of the brook.
Let's not muddy the brook.
The lovely face has been doubled.

What refreshing water!
What a spring river!
How friendly seem the folk at the upper village!
May their springs always gush; may their cows always render milk!
I have not seen their village,
Surely God's footprints lie at the foot of their huts.
There moonlight enlightens the expanse of words.
Surely in the upper village hedges are low;
There the folk know what sort of flower is anemone;
Surely there the blue is blue.
A bud is blossoming, the village inhabitants know.
O what a fine village it must be!
May its orchard-lanes be full of music!
The folk upstream understand the water.
They did not muddy the brook. We also
must not muddy the brook.
The Address
"Where is the friend's house?," the rider asked in the twilight.
Heaven paused;
The passerby bestowed the flood of light on his lips to darkness of sands
And pointed to a poplar and said:

"Near the tree,
Is a garden-line greener than God's dream 
Where love is bluer than the feathers of honesty.
Walk to the end of the lane which emerges from behind puberty,
Then turn towards the flower of solitude;
Two steps to the flower,
Stay by the eternal mythological fountain of earth
where a transparent fear will visit you.
In the flowing intimacy of the space you will hear a rustling sound:
You will see a child
Who has ascended a tall plane tree to pick up chicks from the nest of light.
Ask him:
Where is the friend's house?
In the Tar of Night, Translated to English by Farhad Arbab
Long since in this "loneliness fits,"
Color of Silence fills the form of Lips.
A call, from afar, summons me -- right,
Yet, my feet stay in the Tar of Night.

No chink has this darkness quoined,
Doors and walls are together conjoined.
A shadow on Ground if happens to slide,
Phantom of an Illusion 'tis, whose bonds has pried.

Breath of folks and that of kinsí,
One to one frigid, or depressed wince.
Long, in this corner of Withered Air province,
Every joy that once was, has expired since.

Magical Hand of Night,
On me and Sorrow, shuts doors in spite.
Hard as I travail in my plight,
It sneers at me with much delight.

Sketches I drew while Day stroke,
Night arrived and smeared with smoke.
Plans that I made in the thick of Night,
Day appeared and with cotton, all wiped.

Long since, as me, in everyone's fix,
Color of silence fills the form of Lips.
No move disturb this silence might,
All Hands, Feet, stay in the Tar of Night.
 

Research: Iranian Contemporary Poems

 

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