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Sohrab Sepehri
Interpretation and translation by Ali Sadri
April 19, 2005

Contemporary Persian poet, Sohrab Sepehri deserves better. If his work is to be read by the English speaking, we fellow Farsi speakers must not misrepresent the great Poet and bastardize his work through poor, literal, and under-par translation. When I read “Doost” (Friend) in English published in “The Lover is always alone” Translated by Karim Emami, I was deeply disappointed. This very special poem written to and for Forough Farrokhzad, had lost its essence and Sepehri’s sensitivity, admiration, envy, disillusionment, and romanticism was almost lost in the translation. Hence my effort to re interpret and re translate this great poem.

Bigger than life She was
Modern She was
She knew by name all open horizons
Water and earth spoke to her

She sang the sad song of the real
With a blink of an eye
... she showed me the pulse of all the elements
With a touch of a hand
... she turned the page of generosity
Blowing softly breath of kindness

Her form was her solitude
And she confided only to a mirror
... her loveliest of all curvatures
And like rain drops she was filled with unsullied repetition
And like a tree she spread out the prism of light
Forever she called out the infancy of the wind
And to water’s hasp she tied knots those string of words

One night she danced so uninhibitedly,
... the prostration of a lover’s sprout
That I crawled onto the earth’s affection
And quenched my thirst like a vessel filled with water
And I saw again and again
With how large a basket
... she set forth to harvest a single berry’s tidings

But it could not be
For she did not rest her wings amongst the purity of doves
And she flew reaching the edge of nothingness
And patience of light drew long
And She did not notice me
Alone, patient, wretched
Waiting behind doors for a sweet taste of an apple 

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Ali Sadri


Book of the day

Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

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