I. My Acquaintance With Nazi
I was thinking that Sin
Is to repeat experimenting
And Satan peeped into a rotten shell and yelled:
God has entrusted man the whole world to handle.
I was at the seaside
When the seagull called:
No word would mirror my white presence!
Listening to the fall of an old oak tree
In the dense forest behind me,
I heard the wind holler:
Read the mystery of eternity on its ankle!
And the seedling was saying:
Night 'n' day would suffice my life!
Winter passed after winter
Until a white dawn a flame
Put her hand on my cold shoulder
In a woman's shape.
II. Nazi and Me Conversing Under an Umbrella
Nazi: Get under my umbrella or you'll be soaked in rain.
I say, how nice it is that mankind has discovered fire!
And how nicer that they've learnt how to fry tomatoes in a pan
before they eat it!
What would have men done, indeed, if they'd ever run out of tomatoes?
Me: Nothing, Nazi. Then the scientists would develop a new thesis on how to eat the pans!
And as the dog shut his eyes,
As the cat's hair stiffened,
As the calf grazed all eglantines or dog roses,
They'd say: as a matter of fact,
Science proves that iron has got plenty of vitamins and proteins
Then the Court would send a letter to Great Popo
Only to inspire him –
In the midst of the pope's quarrel with his wife –
A midnight revelation from on high,
And the morning after in the cathedral – that smells of oak –
After the consumption of chime
The message would spread amongst all flora and fauna:
“Do partake of metals – ”
Chains, locks, keys,
Tank or gun barrels,
Windows, doors, fences,
Rings and lighters,
Horseshoes and braziers,
And when they run out of iron
Man species get undressed
And jubilantly jump over fire!
III. Nazi and Me and Much Ado about Nothing
Me: Guess what I've found for you.
Nazi: Fossil of a damselfly?
Nazi: Phosphorous fossil of a sunflower?
Me: Man species used to call it car ball-bearings!
Nazi: How beautiful! Curvy – like the earth!
Me: I've woven the chain with the last cluster of wheat stalk.
Wear it around your neck.
Nazi: Where did you find it?
Me: Beneath a tall mountain that is a desert now
and used to be a sea once.
Nazi: Look now! It suits me?
Me: Yes, truly – as Venus suits the Zodiac!
Three Poems by Hossein Panahi
From Nazi & I (1993), 3rd vol. of The Dog's Left Eye
Translated from Persian by Farzaneh Doost
Published in Threshold Quarterly