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Language: Farsi-Dari
Poet: Sohrab Sepehr
Translator: Patrick Sykes


You wonder, at liberty, befitting the earth

Four poems by Sohrab Sepehri translated by Patrick Sykes

Sohrab Sepehri was one of 20th-century Iran’s pioneering poets and painters and a key figure in the ‘New Poetry’ movement that broke from the previous strict formal constraints.

Patrick Sykes is a British/Irish writer and translator based in Tehran. His first chapbook, Even in the Still, was published by Wide Range in 2012, a selection of which won the Brewer Hall Prize. His poems and prose have also appeared in The White Review and Test Centre. He speaks Farsi and Turkish.

Both line and white

It’s morning.
The sparrow
                only sings.
On the downright wall, autumn
The sun acts all fresh
                        jumps a given volume
of decay from sleep:
an apple
     wears away at the chance
                          of a perforated basket.
A feeling like things astray
                        passes over the eyelid
between trees and the green second
              azure repetition
                                   speech falls in with regret.
          white reverence of paper!
Pulse of our words
                       drags in the distance of ink
in the mind, form’s gravity
                                   goes to waste.
One must close the book
get up take measures to prolong
look at the rose,
             hear its indeterminacy.
Run to the end.
Ro to ruin for the smell of earth.
Arrive at the conflation of God and
the trees.
        close to expansion
             somewhere between rapture and

هم سطر، هم سپيد






Stint of pure sand

scrubs down leisure’s ribs.
I, with damp
                   sand playing incantation
saw an illuminated dream of distance.
I was the sand’s cross of freedom.
In the garden
     was a familiar table
Something in the middle, like
                    rich comprehension:
A bunch of grapes
            veiled all doubt.
The overhaul of silence
                          rattled me
I saw the tree there.
when it must have been,
must have been,
          and reject the narrative
                                 till the blank text
           jasmine melody!

وقت لطيف شن

اضلاع فراغت را مي شست.
من با شن هاي 
مرطوب عزيمت بازي مي كردم
و خواب سفرهاي منقش مي ديدم.
من قاتي آزادي شن ها بودم.

در باغ
يك سفره مانوس 
چيزي وسط سفره، شبيه
ادراك منور:
يك خوشه انگور
روي همه شايبه را پوشيد.
تعمير سكوت 
گيجم كرد.
ديدم كه درخت ، هست.
وقتي كه درخت هست
پيداست كه بايد بود،
بايد بود
و رد روايت را
تا متن سپيد
دنبال كرد.
اي ياس ملون!

From the lid of night

Night was brimming,
the river climbing from the foot of the pines.
The moon-gilt valley, and the mountain so bright that God was exposed.
Us at the heights. 
In turns vanished, the surface scrubbed, and a glance slimmer than any night.
Your hands were giving me word of the green shoot,
pots breaking with your slow breath
and my pulse cast in stone.
From an old wine, summer sand in the veins
and moongaze on your ways.
You wonder, at liberty, befitting the earth. 
The green shot in the courtyard, yoked to the cool air.
Shadows were returning
and the breeze still on the way,
mint that would yield
brimming colour.

از روی پلک شب

شب سرشاري بود.
رود از پاي صنوبرها، تا فراترها رفت.
دره مهتاب اندود، و چنان روشن كوه، كه خدا پيدا بود.

در بلنديها، ما
دورها گم، سطحها شسته، و نگاه از همه شب نازكتر.
دستهايت، ساقه سبز پيامي را ميداد به من
و سفالينه انس، با نفسهايت آهسته ترك ميخورد
و تپشهامان ميريخت به سنگ.
از شرابي ديرين، شن تابستان در رگها
و لعاب مهتاب، روي رفتارت.
تو شگرف، تو رها، و برازنده خاك.

فرصت سبز حيات، به هواي خنك كوهستان ميپيوست.
سايهها برميگشت.
و هنوز، در سر راه نسيم.
پونههايي كه تكان ميخورد.
جذبههايي كه به هم ميخورد.

To Dusk

Dusk spilled redhot
displaced stone.
The mountain silent.
The river roars.
Left in the skirt of the field
the azure harvest.

Shadow alloyed with shadow.
Stone with stone.
The washed-up day moves on
in all its beauty, and its eyes
play sorrow in a smile.

From the battlements the owl sings
the vultures down
from the air, one by one:
a carcass left in the field
a beak rends eyes from their place,
below the brow
two azure pits.

Darkness closes.
The field takes comfort.
The story of the colour of day
comes to an end.

رو به غروب

ريخته سرخ غروب
.جابجا بر سر سنگ‌

.كوه خاموش است‌
.مي خروشد رود
مانده در دامن دشت
.خرمني رنگ كبود

.سايه آميخته با سايه‌
.سنگ با سنگ گرفته پيوند
.روز فرسوده به ره مي گذرد
جلوه گر آمده در چشمانش
.نقش اندوه پي يك لبخند

.جغد بر كنگره ها مي خواند
،لاشخورها، سنگين‌
:از هوا، تك تك ، آيند فرود
لاشه اي مانده به دشت
،كنده منقار ز جا چشمانش‌
زير پيشاني او

.مانده دو گود كبود

.تيرگي مي آيد
.دشت مي گيرد آرام‌
قصه رنگي روز
.مي رود رو به تمام‌

.شاخه ها پژمرده است‌
.سنگ ها افسرده است‌
.رود مي نالد
.جغد مي خواند
.غم بياويخته با رنگ غروب‌
:مي تراود ز لبم قصه سرد
.دلم افسرده در اين تنگ غروب‌