Ἀρχεῖα

Must Escape

by Farzaneh Khojandi

Farzaneh Khojandi

At last the word for scream bursts into my notebook.
Damn this sick society
where shadows boast about their own size.
No one understands the absence of the sun.
No one knows that this brightness
is just pretending to be dawn.
No one understands the absence of meaning
in the guises of the chameleon.
These hollow ghosts
with their gorgeous clothes
and dazzling pendants on long chains,
and breadth perfumed with the scent of Europe –
from the pulpit of time, with fancy words
they talk deceit as if it were truth.
I am offended by them, offended
by the pretentiousness of the very small.
I am offended by myself, too:
I just don’t understand enough
about the weakness of form and the courage of meaning.
Why do I make conversation with nothing
and stitch my words into the hems of the mediocre
like margin prayers or footnotes.
Must escape
must run away to simplicity,
must elevate the best,
must become another example of the sun.
O darling, what can I say, for even you,
choose a dim light-bulb over daylight,
even you with your perceptive glance,
no longer see the absence of the sun.

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Another Birth

by Forough Farrokhzad, translated by A.Z. ForemanForough Farrokhzad

A dark and chanted verse is what I am
Forever bearing you
In myself imbued with you
Forth to the morning of eternal burgeonings and blooms
Oh yes I drew you through this verse oh breath
Oh yes I drew you through
This verse and crafted you
To seas to trees to fire I grafted you.

Life may be
A street crossed by a woman with a basket every day
Life may be
Rope for a man who hangs himself from a branch.
Life may be a child coming home from school.
Life may be a cigarette lighting
Up in the narcotic pause between lovemaking and love made
Or the dazed gaze of a passerby
Tipping his hat to a passerby
With a senseless smile and a Good Morning.
Life may be that cloistered moment
When my gaze comes to ruin in your pupils
Wherein there lies a feeling
Which I shall blend
With the moon’s impression
And the night’s perception.
In a room the size of loneliness
My heart the size of love
Looks at the simple pretext of its happiness,
The vase’s flowers, their beautiful decay,
The sapling that you implanted in our garden
And the canaries’ song
Wide as a window frame.

Oh
My lot is this
My lot is this
This sky abducted from my sight by a hung curtain,
This passage down a deserted stairway
To retrieve something from amid the rot and banished thoughts.
My lot is a sad promenade in nostalgia’s garden,
My lot is to catch my death in the despair of the voice that says to me
‘I love
Your hands.’

I shall plant my hands in the garden
And I will grow I know I know oh I know
And in my hand’s inkstained hollow
The swallow
Shall lay its eggs.

I shall wear
A pair of cherries as ear-rings
And dress my nails with dahlia petals
There is an alley where
Boys who were in love with me even now
Linger with the very unkempt hair and lanky legs
Recollecting the innocent smiles of a little girl
The wind blew away one night.

There is an alley my heart
Has stolen from my childhood’s neighborhood

A form journeying along time’s line
Inseminating time’s dry line with form
A form aware of an image
Back from a mirror’s feast

And that is how it is
That somebody dies
While someone abides
None who fish
In the tiny stream that drains out into a ditch
Can ever fish up a pearl.

I
Know a sad little ocean sprite
Down in her watery haven
Who oh so softly
Plays her heart through a flute,
A sad little sprite
Who dies from a kiss at night
To be born from a kiss at dawn.

8 Rubáiyát

by Omar Khayyám, translated by Edward FitzGerald                   omar khayyam

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

But helpless pieces in the game He plays,
Upon this chequer-board of Nights and Days,
He hither and thither moves, and checks… and slays,
Then one by one, back in the Closet lays.

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted— “Open then the Door!
You know how little time we have to stay,
And once departed, may return no more.”

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou,
Beside me singing in the Wilderness,
And oh, Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out of the same Door as in I went.

With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour’d it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d—
“I came like Water, and like Wind I go.”

Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’t we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.