Forugh Farrokhzad: Another Birth (From Persian)

Another revision. This time with an added recording courtesy of the poet herself!

Another Birth
By Forugh Farrokhzad
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear Forugh herself reciting this poem in Persian
Click to hear me recite this translation in English

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 water, trees and 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 two lovemakings
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.

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.

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.

The Original:

تولدى ديگر
فروغ فرخزاد

همه هستي من آيه تاريكيست
كه ترا در خود تكرار كنان
به سحرگاه شكفتن ها و رستن هاي ابدي خواهد برد
من در اين آيه ترا آه كشيدم آه
من در اين آيه ترا
به درخت و آب و آتش پيوند زدم

زندگی شاید
یک خیابان درازست که هر روز زنی با زنبیلی از آن میگذرد
زندگی شاید
ریسمانیست که مردی با آن خود را از شاخه میاویزد
زندگی شاید طفلیست که از مدرسه بر میگردد
زندگی شاید افروختن سیگاری باشد ، در فاصلهء رخوتناک دو
یا عبور گیج رهگذری باشد
که کلاه از سر بر میدارد
و به یک رهگذر دیگر با لبخندی بی معنی میگوید " صبح بخیر "

زندگی شاید آن لحظه مسدودیست
که نگاه من ، در نی نی چشمان تو خود را ویران میسازد
ودر این حسی است
که من آن را با ادراک ماه و با دریافت ظلمت خواهم آمیخت

در اتاقی که به اندازهء یک تنهاییست
دل من
که به اندازهء یک عشقست
به بهانه های سادهء خوشبختی خود مینگرد
به زوال زیبای گل ها در گلدان
به نهالی که تو در باغچهء خانه مان کاشته ای
و به آواز قناری ها
که به اندازهء یک پنجره میخوانند

سهم من اینست
سهم من اینست
سهم من ،
آسمانیست که آویختن پرده ای آنرا از من میگیرد
سهم من پایین رفتن از یک پله مترو کست
و به چیزی در پوسیدگی و غربت و اصل گشتن
سهم من گردش حزن آلودی در باغ خاطره هاست
و در اندوه صدایی جان دادن که به من بگوید :
" دستهایت را
دوست میدارم "

دستهایم را در باغچه میکارم
سبز خواهم شد ، میدانم ، میدانم ، میدانم
و پرستوها در گودی انگشتان جوهریم
تخم خواهند گذاشت

گوشواری به دو گوشم میآویزم
از دو گیلاس سرخ همزاد
و به ناخن هایم برگ گل کوکب میچسبانم
کوچه ای هست که در آنجا
پسرانی که به من عاشق بودند ، هنوز
با همان موهای درهم و گردن های باریک و پاهای لاغر
به تبسم های معصوم دخترکی میاندیشند که یک شب او را
باد با خود برد

کوچه ای هست که قلب من آن را
از محل کودکیم دزدیده ست

سفر حجمی در خط زمان
و به حجمی خط خشک زمان را آبستن کردن
حجمی از تصویری آگاه
که ز مهمانی یک آینه بر میگردد

و بدینسانست
که کسی میمیرد
و کسی میماند
هیچ صیادی در جوی حقیری که به گودالی میریزد ، مرواریدی
صید نخواهد کرد .

پری کوچک غمگینی را
میشناسم که در اقیانوسی مسکن دارد
و دلش را در یک نی لبک چوبین
مینوازد آرام ، آرام
پری کوچک غمگینی
که شب از یک بوسه میمیرد
و سحرگاه از یک بوسه به دنیا خواهد آمد


  1. Alex, This is a formidable translation. I feel that it's one of those poems that you'd want to retranslate, in part, as years come by. Woudl love to talk about it.

  2. Alex, 
    I have been reading various versions of this poem in English and sadly have found most of them to be inadequate. I enjoy reading Forough in Farsi without any effort, but reading her in English has been a challenge to say the least. Your translation is smooth and fluid. This is how Forough would have written her rebirth in English.

  3. All in all, it was a good translation,Words have been chosen precisely and this is the reason behind its coherence ;)
    Shine on

  4. great poem, and great translation, Shine on ;)

  5. Massimo Mandolini-PesaresiFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Thank you for the very poetic translation.
    Also I greatly enjoy listening to Forugh's voice.
    With my minimal Persian, it is difficult for me to follow the text while hearing her voice: I can follow her for the first few lines, but starting with the following words
    زندگی شاید افروختن سیگاری باشد
    I am lost, and I wonder whether Forugh is reading from a different version of the poem, in which that entire sentence is missing.
    Thank you very much again for your kind attention and warm regards.

  6. Yes, that sentence is missing in her reading, thanks largely to censorship and rules about public decency and such.

  7. Massimo Mandolini-PesaresiFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Thank you so much for the clarification about censorship.
    In fact, I have read the Iranian editions of Forugh's poems are not very reliable precisely for that reason -- the most accurate being, instead, the one from Essen, Germany.
    Warmest regards.

  8. Massimo Mandolini-PesaresiFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Thank you so much for the clarification about censorship.

    In fact, I have read the Iranian editions of Forugh's poems are not very reliable precisely for that reason -- the most accurate being, instead, the one from Essen, Germany.
    Warmest regards

  9. awesome, you are a genius. just one comment :

    This verse and crafted you
    To seas to trees to fire I grafted you.

    not to " seas" , to " water" . Water has a very significant symbolism in Iranian culture and psyche. I refer you to Anahita , goddess of water; the architecture of Iran with Hozkhaneh etc…

    I really wish we could work together , do you have an Iranian friend to comment on these cultural symbols in your work?