Featured Poem

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For Iran Darroudi


Before you
          many
              artists
produced gazelles
from interwoven leaves
and branches

or painted
          a flock
in the contours of the foothills,
          its shepherd
hidden
          in a zigzag of cloud and summit –

or – with their own bellies full,
          they painted
hungry stags, bellowing
in misty, manicured forests.

You, paint lines of mourning,
of metal and mortar,
of smoke, suffering and lies!
Since silence
          is not our faith.

The silence of water
could be drought
          and a cry of thirst.

The silence of wheat
could be the roar of hunger,
          of famine

while the silence of sunshine
is darkness –

but the silence of
          humanity
is a nothingness, a godless void. 

Paint this roar!

Paint my era
in the arc of a whip,
          in its smirking pain. 

Paint my neighbour,
estranged from hope and God.
And paint our dignity
looted and sold for dinars and dirhams.

We, who had all the words in the world
said nothing of worth
since one word,
just one word was missing:
          Freedom!

We didn’t say it. Paint it!

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About the translation:
Poet:
Ahmad Shamloo
Translator:
Ehsan Norouzi, Karen McCarthy Woolf
Original language:
Farsi
Issue:
2015 Number 1 - Scorched Glass

About the author

Original poet

Ahmad Shamloo

Ahmad Shamloo (1925–2000) is most remembered as a pioneer of Farsi free verse poetry, but his various literary contributions a...

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Translator

Ehsan Norouzi

EHSAN NOROUZI is an Iranian novelist, essayist and a literary translator living in Tehran. Among his translations are Catch-22...

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Translator

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen McCarthy Woolf was born in London to English and Jamaican parents. Her poetry has been exhibited on London Underground,...

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