August 24, 2012

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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