Seven Valleys of Love, compiled and translated by Sheema Kalbasi, is written with a piercing clarity and a profound intensity of emotion. Her ability to preserve the integrity and poetical sensibility of the work is evident in her mastery of language, editing, and translation. [Listen to Radio Farda interview]
Seven Valleys of Love is a vibrant celebration of extraordinary women’s voices. The colorful and lively verses in this dazzling collection emerge as small, quiet explosions out of the shadows of hopelessness and seek to inspire and restore peace, hope, and harmony in its people. Seven Valleys of Love calls us to appreciate that though adversity and pity pertain to every human heart, the presence of loveliness and forgiveness also exists in the invincible human spirit. A superb book that demands to be held or cupped gently in the hand so not to spill the sumptuous beauty, light wit, and sharp-eyed acuity it is teeming with.
Sheema Kalbasi elegantly captures the relationship between the troubled voices lamenting to the inner self and the enlightened voices delivering touching bursts of insight and joy. This stunning anthology of love and loss bears witness to a passionate and sorrowful longing, a deep plaintiveness for the ageless plight of expression. A pining that lurks like the wind, at times turbulent and smothering and in other moments soothingly obliging, as unexpected and stealthy as the warm breath or whisper of a lover or assailant on the neck, “panting at the night”, capable of really anything.
My endeavor remains in vain, His love enslaves me yet again Whose bravery, O but the one in need, An ample love, the shore unseen, Deem and caress the insolence. When it is love you ache for to gain Immersed in darkness and opt for the good, Drink the poison and envision the swain.
— Rabeh’eh Quzdari
I am the woman, who dwells in grace, Covered and veiled but audacious. O, you who behest me to abide by his rules Do not veil me! Enthrone me! Thus live the Eve and the Empress. To zephyrs travel, those who are pretentious Fairness and goodness are my resting place. Not every able one is a seaman or has the face, Not everyone disguised is as pure or chaste.
— Padshah Khatoon
Locks on the bolt Secrets behind the doors And the moist Jasmine perfume Panting at the night The jar of thirst in a summer afternoon This musky willow shade and I These birds and I, do not sing!
— Mahshid Naghashpor
I AM DEPRESSED
I am depressed, ah I am depressed from this relentless silence From this hopeless patience From this quiet cry, this ditch I am depressed, ah When will we reach the Sun! When will we arrive at the garden?!…