Ahamd Shamlou (1925-2000): The Gap
The incident of birth:
over a rusty spear-
as-if an open wound,
turning to a bleeding tear.

The journey,
one and only one journey:
ran through-
all the way-
in unbroken chains.

Fuelling the flare inside,
until the last blast of might-
in glory,
the glory bestowed-
by the mere dust-
of the path.

Slaves, true-
but so!

Ascending the ladder of thorns-
wherein the blood runs-
like bushes of rose.

And then,
under the stroke of whip,
unremitting, always,
till the cruel course-

Oh, whose account I recount?
We live-
clueless in the dark;

They die-
well aware of why.
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani.
Ahamd Shamlou (1925-2000): Nazeli
Spring smiled-
and redbud flourished.

In the backyard,
the aged lilac drowned-
in thousands of blossoms,

“Have Faith, Faith!
Break away from the cursed hands of Death!
Being, opt for Being!

And refuge not-
 in the naught!
Surely not-
 in this green spring!”


departed in silence,
quenching her flaming rage-
with the shower of her sorrow.   

Nazeli, Speak!
Speak a word!
Or the Bird of Silence will carry to term-
the seed of an invincible demise!


Nazeli spoke not.
And Sun rose-
from the bed of darkness-
to the bath of blood,
and then,
vanished again.

Nazeli  spoke not a word.
Nazeli was a Falling Star,
Shining at once-
traversing the night,
and fading away.

Nazeli  spoke not a word:
Nazeli was a Transient Violet,
Flowering at once, heralding the warmth:
“The Reign of Winter is Over!”
then, fleeing away-
from the sight.
Nazeli is gone.
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani.
Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000): I Love you!
In our neighbourhood,
it is not dark-
not night.

In our neighbourhood,
voices are not making peace-
with the raid of silence:
Words are sentinel.

I am not alone with you.
No one, on his own,
is ever all alone.

And this night is lonelier-
than its far-apart stars.


In our neighbourhood,
it is not dark-
not night.

And, torches are laid restless-
next to the burning lanterns.

All the fury of this lane,
hides in your clenched fist.

Your lips, are scraping this verse-
to its furbished glow.
I hear you say:
“I love you”.


I Love You.
And, this night-
is afraid of darkness.
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani.
Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000): I Love you!
At the time,
the flames of wrong-
burned the flower of your lips,
my frozen eyes,
tied to the locked gate,
turned to the blocked doorway-
of the azure hallway-
of pain.

They should have let us!
They should have let us throw-
the silken ashes of our tears-
over the four corners-
of this earth.

They should have let us!
They should have let us plant-
the growing seeds of our love-
on the tips of swifter-
sweeter fingers.

They should have let us...
They should have let me quench-
the burning flames of your lips-
with the glacial sorrow-
of my soul.

They should have let you lit-
my chilly darkness inside-
with the blaze-
of your eyes...


The Flames of Wrong-
consumed the flower of your lips;
And my frozen eyes,
remained the blocked doorway
of Hallway of Pain.
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani
Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000): The Obituary
The mundane and the oblivious-
are all alike-
and attuned.
the restless womb-
of the storm-
gives birth
to assorted,
at odds-

Attuned and docile,
standing still-
beyond the shield of Sun:
walking undead, soulless,
in disguise of life.

Sailors of tormented seas,
Sentinels of holy flames,
They serenely stride,
with Death by their side,
never- falling behind.

Alive, animate, sentient,-

For they once lived;
For they once walked,
Hand in hand with Death.

corruption and ruin-
hide away,
at the advent-
of their sight.

The finders of the Spring,
The noble founders of Garden of Hemlock,
The explorers of the roots of bliss-
in the burning grail of mounts-

the magicians of smile,
despite the loads of pain,
concealed in their hat.

Here, they lived.
And then, they departed,
carving a concrete footprint-
all along the heavenly trail-
of the birds.


They stand up against the Thunder.
They light up the House.
And They Die.
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani.