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April 06, 2020


"In one hand holding
A cup of wine
In the other caressing your hair
What I really yearn for
Is dancing with you in the open-air!"

My free translation of this beautiful fragment from a poem by Rumi:

یک دست جام باده و یک دست زلف یار
رقصی چنین میانه میدانم آرزوست

Posted by mehrdad at 11:09 AM | Poems |

April 04, 2020



The cup created masterfully for you to take
Even a drunk consider impertinent to break

So many beautiful heads and feet, from top to toe
Created by whose love, shattered by whose woe

My translation of one of my favourite quatrains by Khayyam:

ترکیب پیاله‌ای که درهم پیوست
بشکستن آن روا نمیدارد مست

چندین سر و پای نازنین از سر و دست
از مهر که پیوست و به کین که شکست

Posted by mehrdad at 05:50 PM | Poems |

Hafez in time of pandemic


How sweet the flowers are!
Enjoy them now, for they
As quickly as they bloomed
Will fall and fade away.

We're all friends here my dear,
Sing love songs! Why should you
Sing yet again? As that
Has gone, so this must too!

~ Hafez Shirazi

گل عزیز است غنیمت شمریدش صحبت
که به باغ آمد از این راه و از آن خواهد شد

مطربا مجلس انس است غزل خوان و سرود
چند گویی که چنین رفت و چنان خواهد شد

Posted by mehrdad at 03:29 PM | Poems |

February 11, 2020

Spring and all its flowers by Hafez

Spring and all its flowers
now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low;
You too weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.

The Sabaa wind arrives;
and in deep resonance, the flower
passionately rips open its garments,
thrusting itself from itself.

The Way of Truth, learn from the clarity of water,
Learn freedom from the spreading grass.

Pay close attention to the artistry of the Sabaa wind,
that wafts in pollen from afar,
And ripples the beautiful tresses
of the fields of hyacinth flowers.

From the privacy of the harem, the virgin bud slips out,
revealing herself under the morning star,
branding your heart and your faith
with beauty.

And frenzied bulbul flies madly out of the House of Sadness
to unite with the flowers;
its love-crazed cry like a thousand-trumpet blast.

Hafez says, and the experienced old ones concur:

All you really need
is to tell those Stories
of the Fair Ones and the Goblet of Wine.

Hafez (1315-1390) - English version by Homayun Taba & Marguerite Theophil

بهار و گل طرب انگیز گشت و توبه شکن
به شادی رخ گل بیخ غم ز دل برکن

رسید باد صبا غنچه در هواداری
ز خود برون شد و بر خود درید پیراهن

طریق صدق بیاموز از آب صافی دل
به راستی طلب آزادگی ز سرو چمن

ز دستبرد صبا گرد گل کلاله نگر
شکنج گیسوی سنبل ببین به روی سمن

عروس غنچه رسید از حرم به طالع سعد
بعینه دل و دین می‌برد به وجه حسن

صفیر بلبل شوریده و نفیر هزار
برای وصل گل آمد برون ز بیت حزن

حدیث صحبت خوبان و جام باده بگو
به قول حافظ و فتوی پیر صاحب فن

Posted by mehrdad at 11:30 AM | Poems |

March 17, 2017

Derek Walcott

"Love After Love"

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Nobel laureate poet Derek Walcott had died aged 87 in St Lucia.

Posted by mehrdad at 03:47 PM | Poems |

June 19, 2015

Ode to the Watermelon

Frida Kahlo - Viva la Vida, Watermelons - 1954

Pablo Neruda's "Ode to the Watermelon"

The tree of intense
is all blue sky,
yellow sun, fatigue in drops,
a sword
above the highways,
a scorched shoe
in the cities:
the brightness and the world
weigh us down,
hit us
in the eyes
with clouds of dust,
with sudden golden blows,
they torture
our feet
with tiny thorns,
with hot stones,
and the mouth
more than all the toes:
the throat
becomes thirsty,
the teeth,
the lips, the tongue:
we want to drink
the dark blue night,
the South Pole,
and then
the coolest of all
the planets crosses
the sky,
the round, magnificent,
star-filled watermelon.
It's a fruit from the thirst-tree.
It's the green whale of the summer.
The dry universe
all at once
given dark stars
by this firmament of coolness
lets the swelling
come down:
its hemispheres open
showing a flag
green, white, red,
that dissolves into
wild rivers, sugar,
Jewel box of water, phlegmatic
of the fruitshops,
of profundity, moon
on earth!
You are pure,
rubies fall apart
in your abundance,
and we
to bite into you,
to bury our
in you, and
our hair, and
the soul!
When we're thirsty
we glimpse you
a mine or a mountain
of fantastic food,
among our longings and our teeth
you change
into cool light
that slips in turn into
spring water
that touched us once
And that is why
you don't weigh us down
in the siesta hour
that's like an oven,
you don't weigh us down,
you just
go by
and your heart, some cold ember,
turned itself into a single
drop of water.

--trans. Robert Bly

Posted by mehrdad at 01:48 PM | Poems | Watermelon |

April 16, 2003



First I built on sand, then I built on rock.
When the rock caved in
I no longer built on anything.
Then I often built again
On sand and rock, as it came, but
I had learned.

Those to whom I had entrusted the letter
Threw it away. But those I paid no attention to
Brought it back to me.
Thereby I learned.

What I ordered was not carried out.
When I arrived I saw
It was wrong. The right thing
Had been done.
From that I learned.

The scars are painful
Now it is cold.
But I often said: only the grave
Will have nothing more to teach me.

Bertolt Brecht

Posted by mehrdad at 10:59 PM | Art | Poems |