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To the Orchard of Fellow Travelers

Translated from the Farsi by Farnoosh Fathi

Call me.
Your voice is good.
Your voice is the chlorophyll of that rare plant
grown within the intimate edges of sadness.

Within the dimensions of this mute age
I am more lonely than the taste of a song
perceived by an alleyway.
Come so I may tell you how great
my loneliness isóit did not foresee
the ambush of your magnitude.
And this is the nature of love.

There is no one.
Come, letís steal life, then
divide it between our glances.
Letís together understand something from the state of a stone.
Come sooner so we can see things.
Look! See how dials on the face of the fountain-clock
turn time back to a spray of dust.
Come, thaw like a word in a line of my silence.
Come melt in my palm like the glowing germ of love.
Warm me.
(And one time on a plain in Kashan, a rain started quickly.
And I was soaked cold when
from behind a rock
a hearth of peonies
warmed me.)

In these alleyways, so dark, I dread
being struck with matches and doubts.
I dread the cement-faced century.
Come that I should not fear the cities
whose black soil
is pasture to bulldozers.

Open me like a gate to a pearís fall
in a rise of the age of steel.
Put me to sleep under a branch

far from this nocturnal, metallic collision.

Call me if the dawn-mine discoverer comes
And I shall, out of an opening in the lilac bloom, wake
from behind the blindfold of your fingers.

tell me of the bombs that fell while I was asleep,
of the cheeks that were flooded with tears
while I was asleep.
Tell me how many geese fled across the seas.
In that time when caterpillars ran over childhood
dreams, to whose foot of comfort did the canary
tie the yellow string of its song?

Tell me what innocent cargo came through the ports,
what technology brought new music and its distinct scent of
what knowledge came from an unfamiliar taste of bread
in the mouth of prophecy.

I, like a faith warmed by the equatorial sun,
will seat you at the threshold of
an orchard.

Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980)


Translated from the Farsi by Farnoosh Fathi

The moon hovers over the hamlet
whose people reside asleep inside.
On this terraced roof, I can smell the mudbricks of nostalgia.

The neighborís garden light is on,
mine is off.
The moonlight has swung onto a plate of cucumbers, and up to the
rim of a water jar.

Frogs are croaking out a song.
An owl hoots its own.

A mountain is beside me.
Behind the maples, dark fruits,
and the plain can be seen.
Rocks are not visible, flowers are not visible.
Shadows, like waterís solitude, like Godís song,
are visible
from afar.

It must be midnight.
That is Ursa Major, two fingerspans above the rooftop.
The sky is not blue. It was blue all day.

I should remember to visit Hassanís orchard tomorrow
to buy dried apricots and plums.
I should remember to go to the abbatoir tomorrow
to sketch goats, brooms, and
their reflections in water.
I should remember to rescue any butterfly
that lands on the water.
I should remember to do nothing
to offend this earth, break
none of its laws.
I should remember to scrub my towel
with bark at the stream tomorrow.
I should remember I am solitary.

The moon hovers over solitude.
Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980)