[Click here to read the lyrics in Farsi.]
The whole of my being is a dark verse of Scripture
which in its repeated recitations will take you away
to the dawn of eternal buddings and bloomings.
In this verse I sighed for you, sighed,
ah, in reciting this verse I grafted you
to tree and water and fire.
Perhaps life is a long avenue
which a woman crosses each day
with a basket. Perhaps life is
a rope with which a man
hangs himself from a tree,
perhaps life is a child coming home from school.
Perhaps life is the lighting of a cigarette
in the languorous interval between
two intimate embraces in bed,
or the absent-minded passing of a passer-by
who raises his hat and with a meaningless smile
wishes another passer-by good morning.
Perhaps life is that moment, enclosed
within itself, when my gaze is laid waste
within the black center of your eye,
and in this feeling that I will compound
with attaining to the moon,
with grasping the night’s obscurity.
In a room the size of loneliness, my heart,
the size of a passionate love, regards
the simple subterfuges of its own good fortune:
the beautiful fading of flowers in their vase,
the sapling you planted in our garden,
and the singing of canaries whose song
is the size of a window.
Oh, my lot is this, my lot
is this: my lot is a sky
taken from me by a descending curtain, my lot
is descending an abandoned stairway
and being united with something down there
in the decay, in the exile. My lot
is strolling grief-stricken through the garden
of memories and perishing in the sorrow
of the voice that says to me,
“I love your hands!”
I plant my hands in the garden; I will become
green and lush, I know,
I know, I know . . .
And the swallows will lay their eggs
in the hollows of my ink-stained fingers.
From each ear I hang an earring
made from a twinned red cherry,
and attach dahlia-petals to my fingernails.
There is an alleyway where the boys
that adored me, with their tousled hair
and slender necks and skinny legs,
still think of a young girl’s innocent smile,
that smile which the wind one night
There is an alleyway which my heart
has stolen from the streets of my childhood.
The journey of a solid body along the line of time,
and, through a solid body, impregnating
the dry and lifeless line of time -
a body become aware
of the image of a mirror returning from a party.
And it is in this way
that someone dies
and someone stays behind.
No fisherman will ever catch a pearl
in some meager stream
that drains out into a ditch.
Me, I know
a little grief-stricken fairy who dwells in the ocean
and plays her heart through a wooden flute,
a grief-stricken fairy who dies
at night through a kiss and in the morning
will come into the world
through a kiss.
Translation from the Farsi
By Neal Koga
Editorial note: From Tavalodi Digar, © 1964 by Forugh Farrokhzad. English translation © 2015 by Neal Koga.