Forough Farrokhzad: “Another Birth”

Another Birth

My life is a darkened verse
that carries you within it again and again
to a dawn of eternal growth and bloom
In this verse I’ve sighed for you
In this verse
I’ve joined you to trees to water to fire

Maybe life is
a long street through which a woman passes each day with a basket
Maybe life is
a rope with which a man hangs himself from a branch
Maybe life is a kid coming home from school
Maybe life is the glow of a cigarette
between two rounds of passion
or the gaze of a passerby
lifting his hat
saying to another with a meaningless smile
“Good morning”

Maybe life is that self-enclosed moment
when my gaze finds oblivion in the blacks of your eyes
Maybe its the meaning
I give to looking at the moon
and perceiving the darkness

In a room the size of loneliness
my heart
which is the size of love
looks at its simple pretexts for happiness
at the beautiful rotting of flowers in a vase
at the young tree you planted once in our garden
at the songs of canaries
that sing to the size of the window

Oh
this is my fate
my fate is this
my fate is
a big sky taken from me at the small drop of a curtain
My fate is descending a flight of subway stairs
to find something at the heart of decay and nostalgia
My fate is a sad walk through a garden of memory
a giving of my soul to the sad voice that says
“I love your hands”

And I will plant my hands in the garden
and I will grow I know I know
and in the hollows of my discolored hands
swallows will lay eggs

I’ll wear a pair of earrings
cut from two cherries
I’ll put dahlia petals on my fingernails
For there’s an alley where
the little boys who once loved me
still hang about with tangled hair bony legs thin necks
still think about the innocent smiles of that girl
who was taken one night by the wind

There’s an alley my heart
has stolen from
the place of its childhood

This is the journey of a form along the line of time
impregnating that line of time with the form
a form conscious of its own image
returning from a feast in the mirror

And so it is
that somebody dies
and somebody else remains
No fisherman will find the pearl
in that small stream that opens to the sea

I know
a sad little fairy
who has made her home in an ocean
She plays her heart softly into a wooden flute
A sad little fairy
who dies of a kiss each night
and is born of a kiss each dawn

— Forough Farrokhzad

Translated from Persian by Paul Weinfield, © 2013
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