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Friday, August 09, 2013

Forough Farrokhzād: The Window

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If you come to my home,
Bring me a light
And a nook
From which I may watch the crowding of the glad lane.

(Forough Farrokhzād, The Gift, the blog of Cizdabedar)

There are two opposite universes in the poetry of Forough Farrokhzād, I think, and each one plays ambiguously, as the relationship of the poet with each of the two worlds is ambiguous. The inner space, offering intimacy and imposing limitations. The outer space, desired while challenging. And the feeling that a light and a nook would suffice, to stay inside while dreaming the big adventure of open roads.

I found in the anthology of Mid-East contemporary literature (Tablet and Pen, edited by Reza Aslan) another poem of Forough Farrokhzād: The Window, again in the rendering of Sholeh Wolpé. I would offer you here another English rendering, of Leila Farjami. A window at the border between the two universes, a window would suffice, to remain inside and to look through it, resembling a well's ring reaching the earth at the finiteness of its heart.

One window is sufficient
One window for beholding
One window for hearing
One window
resembling a well's ring
reaching the earth at the finiteness of its heart
and opening towards the expanse of this repetitive blue kindness
one window filing the small hands of loneliness
with nocturnal benevolence
of the fragrance of wondrous stars
and thereof,
one can summon the sun
to the alienation of geraniums.

One window will suffice me.

I come from the homeland of dolls
from beneath the shades of paper-trees
in the garden of a picture book
from the dry seasons of impotent experiences in friendship and love
in the soil-covered alleys of innocence
from the years of growing pale alphabet letters
behind the desks of the tuberculous school
from the minute that children could write stone
on the blackboard
and the frenzied starlings would fly away
from the ancient tree.

I come from the midst of carnivorous plant roots
and my brain is still overflowed
by a butterfly's terrifying shriek
crucified with pins
onto a notebook.

When my trust was suspended from the fragile thread of justice
and in the whole city
they were chopping up my heart's lanterns
when they would blindfold me
with the dark handkerchief of Law
and from my anxios temples of desire
fountains of blood would squirt out
when my life had become nothing
but the tic-tac of a clock,
I discovered
I must
must love,

One window will suffice me
one window to the moment of awareness
and silence.
the walnut sapling
has grown so tall that it can interpret the wall
by its youthful leaves.

Ask the mirror
the redeemer's name.
Isn't the shivering earth beneath your feet lonelier than you?
the prophets brought the mission of destruction to our century
aren't these consecutive explosions
and poisonous clouds
the reverberation of the sacred verses?
when your reach the moon
write the history of flower massacres.

Dreams always plunge down from their naive height
and die.
I smell the four-petal clover
which has grown on the tomb of archaic meanings.

Wasn't the woman
buried in the shroud of anticipation and innocence,
my youth?

Will I step up the stairs of curiosity
to greet the good God who strolls on the rooftop?

I feel that time has passed
I feel that moment is my share of history's pages
I feel that desk is a feigned distance
between my tresses
and the hands of this sad stranger.

Talk to me
What else would the one offering the kindness of a live flesh want from
but the understanding of the sensation of existence.

Talk to me
I am in the window's refuge
I have a relationship with the Sun.

(Forough Farrokhzād)

(Reza Aslan)

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