A Soldier On A Two-Hour Leave of Absence
Waiting for the grenade to burst,
I count your name down
From one thousand and one to five,
to see if I kill or get killed.
During the night watch I engrave your name on the sentry kiosk,
on my bed in the barracks, on my gun’s stock.
Every morning I swear by the flag and water and earth and your name.
All these take only two years.
And then your name becomes like any other name,
your lips like all other lips and my poem, like any other poem.
From The Forgotten Kisses of The Last Tryst
From your hands no fist,
from your throat no splashing cry.
Roaming with your own rebellious steps
You are more revolutionary than Che Guevara.
It suffices that you smile,
pour your wrath out through your teeth
or with a mere gesture prostrate all the bayonets.
Girl of a thousand years
in my bosom’s revolution,
I could have sent you kisses
packed in cartridge belt boxes,
or through letters which would never arrive.
Let them all say armed movements
Are doomed to defeat
You but take your gun out and fire me.
Turtle Was singing My Poem
It was neither your poem
nor any one else's.
Fallen on its back,
the wretched shell-back turtle
was singing my poem,
and with each stanza a renewed rhythm:
Someone's fallen upside down!
Someone's stabbed in the back!
He looks over his head
where the wind is carrying your footsteps,
and the waves are washing away all traces of you.
Turtle is singing my poem,
singing with the refrain:
Help me back again.
- Translated from original Persian by Farzaneh Doosti and Martin V. Turner, summer 2010