Negah Kon



The bad year,
The sad year,
The windy year,
The tearful year,
The year of overwhelming doubts.

The year,
whose days were running too long,
and its patience-falling too short.

The year that Pride,
the year that Sense of Pride,
begged at their knees.

The year of plight,
The lowly year,
The year of shadow-
and sorrow.

The year Poury cried;
The year of Morteza’s blood;
The resigning leap year…


Life is not a trap.
Love is not a trap.
Not even death has ever been a trap-
a trap to me.
For the dearly loved-
and the dearly dead,
fly free, fly in freedom,
fine and whole.


I found my love in the bad year,
in the sad year,
and it repeats to me-
again and again:
“Do not give in!”

I found my hope in the ocean of despair,
My silvery moonlight in the dark night,
My love in the year of plight,
And exactly when-
I was about to turn into ash-
I went on fire.

Life was spiteful to me-
but somehow-
I could just smile.

This earth was cruel to me-
but somehow-
I could just lay unafraid-
on the ground.

For perhaps,
looking inside-
I could somehow decide-
that life is not dark,
and Earth is neat.

I was bad.
But I was not evil.
I escaped from Evil.
And the whole world cursed me.

the bad year,
the sad year arrived:
The year Poury cried;
The year of Morteza’s blood;
The year of gloom.

But somehow,
in that year-
I found the stars,
I found the sublime,
I found the good.
And I bloomed.

You are fine.
And it is a confession.

I have already-
confessed and cried-
many times.

I can somehow-
confess and smile.
Perhaps for I could decide-
the first and the last,
the dark and the light,
and days and nights,
are meant to merge.


You are fine.
And I was not evil.
I found you somewhere in this world-
and my might,
and my words,
my flesh and my soul,
all turned into poem.

Even the hardest rocks-
turned into poem.

Evil turned into a verse,
And the verse turned into beauty.

So the Heavens sang,
the birds sang,
and water danced.

I asked you:
“Be my small sparrow and I become-
by your return, next spring-
a blossomed tree.”

The snow melted,
flowers beamed.
And Sun smiled.

And I watched,
And I somehow changed.
To you,
I now confess:
“You are swell,
and the bad year,
the sad year, well,
is gone.”

You smiled.
And I came back-
to Life.


I want to be good.
I want to be you!
This is all I can now confess.

Stay with me!
Stay forever- if you please!

By Ahmad Shamlou
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, July 2009, New Brunswick

Translated from the poem "Negah Kon" first published in the anthology Havay-e Tazeh (Fresh Air) 1957, Tehran.

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