Ode to Damavand
Mohammad Taghi Bahar
Translated by Mahvash Shahegh
February 11, 2007
>>> Audio of original Persian poem
O’ Shackled white demon!
O’ dome of the world, Damavand!
You have a helmet on your head of silver
And a belt on your waste of iron
To cover your face from people
You have hidden your face behind clouds.
In order, to be left alone by these human faced animals
And these demon-like, sinister people,
You have made a treaty with the lion of sky
And unified with the lucky star
When the earth became cold, dark and
Silent by the celestial oppression,
It threw its fist of rage up the sky,
And you are that fist, O’ Damavand!
You are that mighty rough hand fist of earth
Inherited through long centuries
O’ you the fist of earth! Sour the sky
And hit “Rey” with a few throws.
No, you are not the fist of earth
I am not content with my saying.
You are the depressed heart of the earth
That has swollen by pain.
In order to reduce the unhealthy swell
A poultice has been applied on it.
Explode, O’ the heart of universe,
Do not let your lidded fire remain hidden.
Do not stay silent, speak
Do not be depressed, laugh.
Do not conceal your inside fire
Take an advice from me, a suffering soul.
O’ gray haired mother, listen
To the advice of this blackened fortune child.
Take off from your head this white scarf
Be seated on a bluish throne.
If you keep your within fire unrevealed
It will burn you, I swear by your life.
The white bearded, sly world has put
A hard muzzle on your mouth
I am going to take off your muzzle
If they tear me into pieces
I will send a flame from my inside fire
That would burn that muzzle
This is what I am going to do, hoping
That it would please you.
You would become liberated and roar
Like a demon free from its chains
Your roaring would shake the earth
From Nishapour to Nahavand
From the sparks of your inside furnace
Raze of light would flood the distance from Alborz to Alvand.
Attack like a poisonous dragon
And roar like an enraged, furious lion.
Make a matchless concoction
Put together an unparallel mixture.
Send a cloud made of blazes fire, hell flame, gas & ill smell fumes
From smoke, hot gas, rotten rocks
All wrapped in the scorching sighs of the oppressed people,
And the threatening fire of God’s punishment
To rain down on “Rey”
Made of terror, fright and pestilence
Break down the hell’s gate and pour out
Punishment for those disbelieving infidels
In the same way that God by sending a terrible typhoon Annihilated the infidel city of ‘Ad
In the same way that the god Volcano
Descended a hovering death sentence on Pompey
Utterly, destroy this hypocritical foundation
Tear up this race and all that connects them.
Eradicate the roots of this monument
As all monuments of injustice need to be uprooted
Make these mean, foolish oppressors, pay
For the ravages they have caused to man of worth and merit.
Mahvash Shahegh has been a visiting lecturer in Persian language studies at Johns Hopkins University's Language Teaching Center. Visit her homepage.