Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Re-Discovering Sohrab Sepehri

After a very long time, I listened to the first side of Shahram Nazeri's album, "DAR GOLESTANE," which features famous poems by Sohrab Sepehri. The poetry is AMAZING! Side 1 of the album started with "DASHTAHEE CHE FARAKH, KOOHHAEE CHE BOLAND" (such wide fields and such high mountains) which immediately merged into memories of a road travel around KASHAN (in my recent trip to Iran). It got more and more emotional, up to the ending part, " KAFSH HAYAM KOO? CHE KASI BOOD SEDA ZAD SOHRAB"
(where are my shoes? who is calling Sohrab?), and at that point I started crying like a baby.
Such an amazing visual poetry, breath-taking!

Someone's calling me again, where are my shoes?

From: http://foroughfarrokhzad.tripod.com/sohrabsepehri/id16.html

In The Meadow

The turfs of such vastness;

The mounts of such heights;

The meadow is engulfed with the fresh scent of the grass.

In that remote parish, I was looking for something,

Maybe a dream, perhaps a fistful of sands,

Or a lightening, a smile,

Yes, something:

a fleeting dream at least.

Behind the willows there is an innocent sense

-of oblivion and of  original void-

That is constantly calling my name.

I stay besides the reeds and I listen:

Who is talking to me?

Who is calling my name?


A lizard slipped into the river, I leave

Ryes on my way then the green sight of farms

and forgetfulness streaming  in the air...


I stay by the waterway

ousted my shoes, feet in the torrent:

Oh, so green I feel at this moment!

and my senses are so lucid, so fluid

so aware!


Who is behind the trees?

No one, only a lonely cow!

It is the noon of a warm summer day;

Even the shadows know the name of the season.

The shadows are spotless and dense.

In my bright, tidy space

the children of sense

Sometimes play, sometimes rest.


Life is not empty:

There is kindness,

and apple

and faith.

Life is full

Wherever flowers dare to bloom...

And now,

Now, there is something in my heart

And I am so restless

 I like to run to the end of the perish

to the peak of mountain;

to the end of the perish

to top of the peaks!


Far away there is a Voice

The Voice

That is constantly calling my name.

By: Sohrab Sepehri

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani

The poem Dar Golestaneh  was first published in the anthology Hajm-e Sabz (The Green Mass)  1967, Tehran


The Initiation Call

Where are my shoes?
Who is calling my name?
I knew the voice such the leaves know
the breath of the breeze.
My mother is sleepin’
So do Manou and Parvin,
And I guess, everybody in this town.
It is a night of June.
And its heavy breeze,
like the verses of elegies
Flows over the clock’s lengthy hands.
It is a night of June.
And its heavy breeze drags my fleeting nap
from the tear of the jade shades of the sheet
to the underworld.
For my pillow is filled with the feathers of migrating birds,
For the water in this vase is constantly flying to the roof of the night,
For it is a heavy night of June,
I deem it is the time to leave.
I must leave tonight,
For I talked to those people
from the widest open window
with the words of my soul
but none was there to know.

I must leave tonight,
For I watched those people
from the widest open window
with the eyes of my soul
and nobody stopped to see the core of the earth
and nobody dared to awe the truth of the garden’s birth
and nobody cared to love the crows at the time of dearth.
For I see that beneath the shade of the world’s rarest pine
The neighbour girl is sitting reading a holy guide.
So I feel blue, as blue as those grey skies,
grieving the barren heart of deserted ryes.
I must leave tonight.
For I’ve only seen few little things in this land:
The poet who such wondered
the vague verse of the space
that stars laid eggs in her eyes;
And the man who asked me one night
about the exact birth date of the vineyard.
But I must leave tonight,
I must get a bag up to the mass of my lonely wears
And walk the route where those epic woods cling into my sight,
towards that enormous vastness that calls me every night.
Where are my shoes?
Who is there calling my name?
Surely I must leave tonight.

By: Sohrab Sepehri

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani

The poem Neda-ye Aghaz was first published in the anthology Hajm-e Sabz (The Green Shape)  1967, Tehran


  1. Poems are hard to translate. While thankful to the translator, i have a problem with this, specially:
    " And the man who asked me one night
    about the exact birth date of the vineyard. "
    The original poem (in Iranian) says something like this,
    "And the man who asked me, one night of those (many) nights
    'how far (from here) to the rising (as for sunrise) of the grape?"'
    I realize that translating poms from original language and making them feel like a poem (in the language they are being translated to) is hard - but what the translator has chosen for this part of this poem, does not do the poem and the poet justice.
    Sepehri's poems are of course specially very difficult to translate...

    That said, thank you VERY MUCH for the translation.
    If at the right moment in one's life, reading some of Sohrab's poems can indeed be life-changing. In a good way..

  2. فرخ عزیز

    انتقاد شما به نظر درست می رسد. ترجمه از این جا است و من در آن نقشی نداشته ام و مثل شما از
    آنها متشکر و قدردان هستم



IT'S NOT ...

.. ``It's not your spread, and it's not how strong you are, and it's not how fast you are, because you have all those thing...