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They smell your breath, lest you had uttered ‘I love you’

Here is a wonderful poem, In this Dead-end, by Ahmad Shamlou:

They smell your breath, lest you had uttered ‘I love you’.
They smell your heart!
Strange times are these my dear.

They flog love at a roadblock corner.
Love is better off hidden in a closet at home.

In this crooked dead-end of twisting chill
they kindle their fire with our song and poetry.

Do not risk thinking.
Strange times are these my dear.

He who bangs on the door late at night
has come to kill the light.
Light is better off hidden in a closet at home.

Now here are the butchers
stationed at the cross-roads
with clubs and cleavers stained in blood.

Strange times are these my dear.

And they excise smiles from our lips and songs from our mouths.
Joy is better off hidden in a closet at home.

Barbequed canaries on a fire of lilies and jasmine
strange times are these my dear.

Satan, intoxicated and victorious
sits at our funeral feast.
god is better off hidden in a closet at home.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for posting. The anthology I own of his works (translated into English mercifully as I cannot read Farsi or speak more than a handful of words) is a treasured possession – as is the collection of Forough Farrokhzad’s poetry.

    I wish more iranian literature was available in translation, especially the poetry of my friend Azadeh Tahaei.

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