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