Rhonda Fenwick: Persian Project in Lockdown — Women's Work

Persian Project 2020 in Lockdown — Women's Work

English Translations of selected Poems and Poetry of the great Iranian Poet Forugh Farrokhzad

Forugh, one of the most famous Persian Women poets died in a car crash February 13, 1967 at the young age of 32. Poems such as “Reborn”, “The Wind Will Take Us”, “Sin” and “Let us believe in the dawn of the cold season” left an unmistakeably unique and indelible mark on Middle Eastern literature.


My entire soul is a murky verse, reiterating you within itself
Carrying you to the dawn of eternal burstings and blossomings
In this verse, I sighed you, AH!
In this verse, I grafted you to trees, water and fire
Perhaps life is a long street along which a woman
With a basket passes every day, perhaps life
Is a rope with which a man hangs himself from a branch
Perhaps life is a child returning home from school
Perhaps life is the lighting of a cigarette
Between the narcotic repose of two love-makings
Or the puzzled passage of a passerby
Tipping his hat saying good morning to another passerby with a vacant smile
Perhaps life is that blocked moment
When my look destroys itself in the pupils of your eyes
And in this there is a sense
Which I will mingle with the perception of the moon
And the reception of darkness
In a room the size of one solitude
My heart the size of one love
Looks at the simple pretexts of its own happiness,
At the pretty withering of flowers in the flower pots
At the sapling you planted in our flowerbed
At the songs of the canaries
Who sing the size of one window.
Ah this is my lot
My lot Is a sky, which the dropping of a curtain seizes from me
My lot is going down an abandoned stairway
And joining with something in decay and nostalgia
My lot is a cheerless walk in the garden of memories
And dying in the sorrow of a voice that tells me:
“I love your hands”
I will plant my hands in the flowerbed
I will sprout, I know, I know, I know
And the sparrows will lay eggs
In the hollows of my inky fingers
I will hang a pair of earrings of red twin cherries
Round my ears I will put dahlia petals on my nails
There is an alley where the boys who were once in love with me,
With those dishevelled hairs, thin necks and gaunt legs
Still think of the innocent smiles of a little girl
Who was one night blown away by the wind
There is an alley which my heart
Has stolen from places of my childhood
The journey of a volume along the line of time
And impregnating the barren line of time with a volume
A volume conscious of an image
Returning from the feast of a mirror
This is the way someone dies
And someone remains no fisherman will catch pearls
From a little stream flowing into a ditch
I Know a sad little mermaid dwelling in the ocean Softly, gently blowing Her heart into a wooden flute
A sad little mermaid
Who dies with a kiss at night
In my small night, ah
the wind has a date with the leaves of the trees
in my small night there is agony of destruction
listen do you hear the darkness blowing?
I look upon this bliss as a stranger
I am addicted to my despair.
listen do you hear the darkness blowing?
something is passing in the night
the moon is restless and red
and over this rooftop
where crumbling is a constant fear
clouds, like a procession of mourners
seem to be waiting for the moment of rain.
a moment
and then nothing
night shudders beyond this window
and the earth winds to a halt
beyond this window
something unknown is watching you and me.
O green from head to foot
place your hands like a burning memory
in my loving hands
give your lips to the caresses
of my loving lips
like the warm perception of being
the wind will take us
the wind will take us.


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 anxious 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 love, insanely.
One window will suffice me
one window to the moment of awareness
observance and silence.
Now, 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?
You, comrade, brother, confidant,
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?
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.

Tajrish Bazaar Tehran in January 2021