Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's time to mow the flowers

By Simin Behbahani
(translation by Farzaneh Milani, Abbas Safa)

It’s time to mow the flowers,
don’t procrastinate.
Fetch the sickles, come,

don’t spare a single tulip in the fields.
The meadows are in bloom:

who has ever seen such insolence?

The grass is growing again:

step nowhere else but on its head.

Blossoms are opening on every branch,

exposing the happiness in their hearts:

such colorful exhibitions must be sto
Bring your scalpels to the meadow
to cut out the eyes of flowers.
So that none may see or desire,

let not a seeing eye remain.
I fear the narcissus is spreading its corruption:
stop its displays in a golden bowl

on a six-sided tray.
What is the use of your ax,

if not to chop down the elm tree?

In the maple’s branches

allow not a single bird a moment’s rest.

My poems and the wild mint

bear messages and perfumes.

Don’t let them create a riot with their wild singing.

My heart is greener than green,

flowers sprout from the mud and water of my being.

Don’t let
me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.


vaght-e dero kardan-e gol shod
kaar be fardaa magozaareed
daad bejooyeed o biyayeed
laaleh be sahraa magozaareed

dasht be sabzi geravidast
shookhi az in beesh ke didast?
sabzeh be paa khaste az no
joz be sarash paa magozaareed!

ghonche be har shaakhe shekoftast
shaadiy-e del raa nanehoftast
in hameh piraayeh-e rangin
peesh-e tamaashaa magozaareed

sooy-e chaman nishtar aareed
cheshm-e gol as kaaseh bar aareed
taa na bebinad va na bekhaahad
dideh-ye beenaa magozaareed

beem-e man aan ast ke narges
dast bar arad be tabaahi
kheereh, dar in sini-e shesh goosh
jaam-e motallaa magozaareed

in tabar as bahr-e che daareed?
narvan az beekh bar aareed
forsat-e aasoodan-e morghi
bar sar-e afraa magozaareed

she'r-e man o pooneh-ye vahshi
baarvar az atr o payaamand
baa hameh avazehgarishaan
rokhsat-e ghoghaa magozaareed

sabztar az sabz, del-e man
rosteh gol az aab o gel-e man
raast agar khasm-e bahaareed
neez maraa vaa magozaareed.

(For you to get a sense of her poetry's rhythm: typed up by Naj From Dasht-e Arjan)


Faramin said...

Sorry for being off topic naj,

I made some changes to the appearnce of my blog.

Please check it out and tell me if you still have problem viewing it.



Coffee Messiah said...

An interesting poem. We live in a small midwest town, but the local college has people from all around the world: Manchester College.
Will have to see that our library gets this one.
Thanks for the link!

Naj said...

Hi Coffee messiah, welcome to my blog.

Simin behbahani is an iconic woman in Iran. Her poems have a unique beat and rhythm that is impossible to translate; and she has a heavy body of work that is still under explored.

If you are interested in Iranian poets, there is Forough Farokhzad and Parvin Eetesami who are predecessors of Simin, yet exemplry in the unique form they introduced in Persian poetry.

Translation of Persian literature, is one of those sadly overdue tasks, that is responsible for such a poor understanding of our country; and such high susceptibility to negative propaganda, as we see now. And thanks to Bush's "embargo on Iranian literature", the project seems to not have a chance to even begin.

Brother Tim said...

This has to be one, truly, great poem, Naj. As everyone understands, when you translate from one language to another, something is lost; regardless of what language is being translated to or from. What was left was still magnificent, which is the hallmark of great literature. Thanks