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Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Green Delusion
By Forough Farrokhzad
(from her third volume of poetry: Another Birth)


All day, in the mirror I was weeping
Spring had offered my window
to the green delusion of trees
the cocoon of my lonesomeness
could not contain my body
and the smell of my paper tiara
had polluted
the space of my infinite sunless realm
I couldn’t, just couldn’t
the sound of the street, the birds
the sound of lost rubber balls
and the fleeting rumpus of children
the dance of balloons,
soap bubbles climbing on the stem of a string
and the wind, the wind
as if panting in the depth of that cavernous dark moment of sex
they all pressed against
the barrier of my quiet fortress of trust
from old cracks, they called out my heart by name

all day, my gaze
was staring at my life’s eyes
those two frightened anxious eyes
who hid from my steady stare
and like liars
would take refuge at the safe isolation of the lashes
which peak, which pinnacle?
don’t all these winding roads
reach the point of junction and end
at that cold suction mouth?
What did you give me, you sly guile words?
And you, the torments of bodies and desires;
If I had put a flower in my hair,
would it not have been prettier
than this cheat, this paper tiara
reeking over my head?

Desert's soul captured me, yet
the hush-hush of birthing months
of the herd
drove me away.
My heart’s incompleteness grew
and no half completed another.
I stood and saw
the earth lose its own
footing under my feet
and the warmth of my lover
not end in the futile wait of my body

which peak, which pinnacle?
Give me refuge, oh the agitated lights
suspicious bright houses
where a recent wash, still
embracing the scent of smoke,
sways on a sunny rooftop
give me refuge, you simple wholesome women
outside your skin, your lean fingertips
trace the delicious movements of a fetus,
in the crack of your cleavage
air is always mingling with the smell of fresh milk

which peak, which pinnacle?
Give me refuge, oh stoves full of fire
horseshoes of happiness
chant of copper dishes in the pitch-black kitchen
the soft ballad of the sewing machine
the all day fight of the brooms and rugs
give me refuge, all you greedy loves
whose aching desire to endure
adorns your beds of invasion
with voodoo water
and blood drops

all day all day
abandoned, abandoned like a carcass
floating on water
I was approaching the most menacing precipice
the deepest sea caves
the most carnivore fish
in the thin vertebrates of my back
the sensation of death was shooting down
I couldn’t, just couldn’t
my steps sounded like the denial of the road
my disappointment had grown larger than my soul’s patience
then, that Spring, that green delusion
passing by my window, told my heart:
“look, you never moved on,
you were always sinking.”


Last edited by deepwaters, Feb/1/2010, 4:42 pm
Jan/16/2010, 4:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Are you serious? Is this really poetry that is out there? Is this an actual poet? Is there really a poet out there who has this kind of centered, somatic freedom at her finger tips? I feel like I am reading Sappho's full texts before Christianity looked to excise her from the record, leaving us fragments. I feel like I am reading The Song of Solomon, only this time the author is a woman describing her secret garden, her hortus conclusus.

Damn my bad luck for being born to an Age and place of little poetry people and little poetry poets with little imaginations and little minded poetry critics. I want this in my ear in the morning and last thing at night.

I can't know the liberties you've taken, Shabfriend. That will be a matter between you, the experts, and maybe the Lilliputians. I just know a largeness comes through making me want to lose my religion.

I'll come back later and maybe pick a little at words that seem to misfit the poem's soul. In the mean time this is a poem I've always aspired to. Just this.

Tere
Jan/16/2010, 6:40 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Tere -

Thank you! It makes me so happy that the poem's "largeness" as you put it comes through.

I am not sure whether the liberties I have taken matches other translations out there; after reading the other translation of Windup Doll (pasted as part of the thread) and Those Days (pasted as a link by Katlin), I decided that I wasn't going to read the translations, at least for a while.

I am eager to hear your picking on misfits in the translation. Thanks again.

Jan/17/2010, 1:34 am Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Shab,

I've been following these translation threads and haven't felt qualified to comment. Just to let you know, there's another appreciative reader out here.

Chris
Jan/17/2010, 9:46 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Hi Shab,

Much here to savory and contemplate. Farrokhzad is a poet who is wonderfully able to dig deep into an emotion, really flesh it out.

A couple of quick thoughts listed below:

quote:

deepwaters wrote:

Green Delusion
By Forough Farrokhzad

All day, in the mirror I was weeping
Spring had offered my window
to the green delusion of trees
the cocoon of my lonesomeness
could not contain my body
and the smell of my paper tiara
had polluted
the space of my infinite sunless realm
I couldn’t, just couldn’t
the sound of the street, the birds
the sound of lost rubber balls
and the fleeting rumpus of children
the dance of balloons,
soap bubbles climbing on the stem of a string
and the wind, the wind
as if panting in the depth of that cavernous dark moment of sex
they all pressed against
the barrier of my quiet fortress of trust
from old cracks, they called out my heart by name

all day, my gaze
was staring at my life’s eyes
those two frightened anxious eyes
who hid from my steady stare
and like liars
would take refuge at the safe isolation of the lashes
which peek, which pinnacle? [not sure if you mean peak or peek?]
don’t all these winding roads
reach the point of junction and end
at that cold suction mouth? [cold mouth suction?]
What did you give me, you sly guile words?
And you, the torments of bodies and desires;
If I had put a flower in my hair,
would it not have been prettier
than this cheat, this paper tiara
reeking over my head?

The soul of desert captured me, yet [The desert's soul?]
the hush-hush of birthing months
of the herd [the hush-hus of the herd's birthing months?]
drove me away.
My heart’s incompleteness grew
and no half completed another.
I stood and saw
the earth lose its own
footing under my feet
and the warmth of my lover
not end in the futile wait of my body [did not end?]

which peek, which pinnacle?
Give me refuge, oh the agitated lights
suspicious bright houses
where a recent wash, still
embracing the scent of smoke,
sways on a sunny rooftop
give me refuge, you simple wholesome women
outside your skin, your lean fingertips
trace the delicious movements of a fetus,
in the crack of your cleavage
air is always mingling with the smell of fresh milk

which peek, which pinnacle?
Give me refuge, oh stoves full of fire
horseshoes of happiness
chant of copper dishes in the pitch-black kitchen
the soft ballad of the sewing machine
the all day fight of the brooms and rugs
give me refuge, all you greedy loves
whose aching desire to endure
adorns your beds of invasion
with voodoo water
and blood drops

all day all day
abandoned, abandoned like a carcass
floating on water
I was approaching the most menacing precipice
the deepest sea caves
the most carnivore fish
in the thin vertebrates of my back
the sensation of death was shooting down
I couldn’t, just couldn’t
my steps sounded like the denial of the road
my disappointment had grown larger than my soul’s patience
then, that Spring, that green delusion
passing by my window, told my heart:
“look, you never moved on,
you were always sinking.”



Some lines I really like:

Spring had offered my window
to the green delusion of trees
the cocoon of my lonesomeness
could not contain my body

and the fleeting rumpus of children

the hush-hush of birthing months

Give me refuge, oh stoves full of fire
horseshoes of happiness
chant of copper dishes in the pitch-black kitchen
the soft ballad of the sewing machine
the all day fight of the brooms and rugs

my disappointment had grown larger than my soul’s patience
then, that Spring, that green delusion
passing by my window, told my heart:
“look, you never moved on,
you were always sinking.”

One thing I wondered about for future drafts is whether it would be profitable to standardize the punctuation and capitalization--either by putting more of them in or by taking more of them out?

I am struck by the power in Farrokhzad's timeless feminine voice. "Why can't a woman write more like a man?" Reading these poems, I can't help but ask: Why w/should she want to?

Once again I think you are a doing a good job bringing these over into English. Your word choices are strong, and the poems overall are very readable and yet I don't get the sense that you are diminishing the original poems through your translations (down-sizing or diminishing them, so to speak).
Jan/17/2010, 2:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Chris -
Thanks for letting me know you are on this ride.

quote:

ChrisD1 wrote:
haven't felt qualified to comment.


You've got to be kidding me!
-s

Jan/17/2010, 2:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Kat-
Thanks for your comments.

which peek, which pinnacle? [not sure if you mean peak or peek?]
gaaaak!
don’t all these winding roads
reach the point of junction and end
at that cold suction mouth? [cold mouth suction?]
I was trying to construct a noun phrase in which “mouth” is the head noun: a mouth that is cold and sucks up. What do you think?
What did you give me, you sly guile words?
.
.

The soul of desert captured me, yet [The desert's soul?]
I like it….how about getting rid of “the”?
Desert’s soul captured me
What do you think?

the hush-hush of birthing months
of the herd [the hush-hus of the herd's birthing months?]
Frankly, I am a bit attached to “hush-hush of birthing months” maybe not for good reasons either. I also had “herd’s hush-hush of birthing months” but then wondered if that’s too many H sounds in a row…..
Another truth to consider is that what Forough uses as “hush-hush” is a word that could mean magic, something you won’t know much about what happens behind the scenes, or a bit like voodoo. This whole stanza was fairly challenging.

drove me away.
My heart’s incompleteness grew
and no half completed another.
I stood and saw
the earth lose its own
footing under my feet
and the warmth of my lover
not end in the futile wait of my body [did not end?]
I thought that would read confusing as to the structure is “I saw earth lose..” and “I saw his warmth not end in….”

.
.


quote:

One thing I wondered about for future drafts is whether it would be profitable to standardize the punctuation and capitalization--either by putting more of them in or by taking more of them out?


Yes, I need to make a decision about that. She has almost no punctuations, aside from exclamation points, question marks, and rare commas. The problem is that the beginning of a sentence is not capitalized in Farsi; so putting in periods or capitalizing would force me to decide clear phrase boundaries….but, maybe that’s a leap I should take?

quote:

I am struck by the power in Farrokhzad's timeless feminine voice. "Why can't a woman write more like a man?" Reading these poems, I can't help but ask: Why w/should she want to?


Oh, I totally agree. She is so unapologetically a woman. Imagine being a young woman, in 1950’s, in a male dominant world like Iran….with that in mind, it is so impressive that she published her first book when she was 20, by the time of her death at 32 she had published four more, and her funeral was a national event, attended by giants of Iranian literature. She had talent and she was real.

quote:

Once again I think you are a doing a good job bringing these over into English. Your word choices are strong, and the poems overall are very readable and yet I don't get the sense that you are diminishing the original poems through your translations (down-sizing or diminishing them, so to speak).


Thank you. I will email you to see if you have any thoughts about translating a collection of hers. Of course, it only makes sense if these bring something to the scene that earlier translations have not. From the few I have seen before I stopped looking at them emoticon, I might have a chance of contributing something.

Thanks again for your helpful comments.
-s
Jan/17/2010, 2:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
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"I was trying to construct a noun phrase in which “mouth” is the head noun: a mouth that is cold and sucks up. What do you think?"

Okay, I see. Good on you, as Tere would say. Which reminds me, I'm often too stuck on traditional syntax, much to my detriment. Someone like Tere isn't though, so if it works for him, I say it works.

"Frankly, I am a bit attached to “hush-hush of birthing months” maybe not for good reasons either. I also had “herd’s hush-hush of birthing months” but then wondered if that’s too many H sounds in a row…..
Another truth to consider is that what Forough uses as “hush-hush” is a word that could mean magic, something you won’t know much about what happens behind the scenes, or a bit like voodoo. This whole stanza was fairly challenging."

About the way this reads, see my above comment. I think you are right to trust your instinct here. I too like hush-hush as it is. Didn't know that about the magic. Now I like it even more. emoticon

"I like it….how about getting rid of “the”?
Desert’s soul captured me
What do you think?"

Yes.

"I thought that would read confusing as to the structure is “I saw earth lose..” and “I saw his warmth not end in….”

Yes. Ditto my previous comments here.

"Yes, I need to make a decision about that. She has almost no punctuations, aside from exclamation points, question marks, and rare commas. The problem is that the beginning of a sentence is not capitalized in Farsi; so putting in periods or capitalizing would force me to decide clear phrase boundaries….but, maybe that’s a leap I should take? "

The poem I just read had less punctuation and capitalization and it worked for me. So in light of that and of what you just said, I would say go in the direction of taking more out of this piece. What do you think?

"Oh, I totally agree. She is so unapologetically a woman. Imagine being a young woman, in 1950’s, in a male dominant world like Iran….with that in mind, it is so impressive that she published her first book when she was 20, by the time of her death at 32 she had published four more, and her funeral was a national event, attended by giants of Iranian literature. She had talent and she was real."

Yes, yes, yes and yes. emoticon

"I will email you to see if you have any thoughts about translating a collection of hers. Of course, it only makes sense if these bring something to the scene that earlier translations have not. From the few I have seen before I stopped looking at them , I might have a chance of contributing something."

I think so too. On a site I frequent, someone is composing a list of journals which are interested in translations. She said when she compiles it she will make it available. If there is a link, I will post it here. If not, I will send it to you in an email. I don't know what the book opportunities are, but I think there has got to be an interest in these poems, for so many reasons. Reading Forough Farrokhzad in the USA. emoticon





Jan/17/2010, 3:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


Shabfriend, I think it is a good idea to eschew other translations for now. There will be time enough later for making the comparisons. You seem to be on a roll at the moment. I don't know. Maybe you are in Forough's possession, which strikes me as a good thing.

As for the misfitting words they somehow disappeared with a second reading. Maybe I just needed the poem to take possession of me.

Thank you, my friend. Thank you very much for bringing Forough to us and to the board. Speaking for myself, this is the kind of poetry that, at least for the space of the reading, makes me feel I am not really a stranger in a strange land.

Tere
Jan/17/2010, 4:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Green Delusion (Forough Farrokhzad)


quote:

Terreson wrote:
You seem to be on a roll at the moment. I don't know. Maybe you are in Forough's possession, which strikes me as a good thing.


I certainly feel obsessed and possessed these days.

Thanks, Tere.
Jan/17/2010, 6:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
deepwaters Profile
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quote:

Katlin wrote:

The poem I just read had less punctuation and capitalization and it worked for me. So in light of that and of what you just said, I would say go in the direction of taking more out of this piece. What do you think?


I will clean it up, leaving only the question marks, and see how it looks. thanks.

quote:

If there is a link, I will post it here. If not, I will send it to you in an email. I don't know what the book opportunities are, but I think there has got to be an interest in these poems, for so many reasons. Reading Forough Farrokhzad in the USA. emoticon


ooh, I like that!

Thanks again.
-s


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