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deepwaters Profile
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Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


In light of recent unjust executions in Iran, this poem is circling in my head by Ahmad Shamloo. I am not sure how good of a job I did translating it, but I just wanted to share.

Never Have I Feared Death

Never have I feared death
although his hands more fragile than indecency,
my fear is of dying in a land
where a gravedigger's pay is higher than one man's freedom

seeking,
...............finding
..............................and freely choosing
and for one's own self
building a fort,
if death is valued higher than all this
never
...............never
..............................never would I fear death


Jan/28/2010, 10:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Speechless.

Thanks for this.

Chris
Jan/29/2010, 1:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Thank you, Chris.
Jan/30/2010, 5:26 am Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


I hope this is okay to say. Even before meeting you, Shab, I've been following events in your first country closely. I've said it before somewhere on our board. But to me these beautiful children are circling back to '78 to complete that year's revolution. I am feeling everything they are going through, including the beatings and the deaths. But I am absolutely convinced they will win. It is the decadence of the rulers that is on their side.

Sorry if this is too personal. But then poetry should make everything in the world personal, as the poem and its translation indeed does. That is the lesson I took from Shelley.

Tere
Jan/30/2010, 2:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Shab,

Strong, no nonsense poem. Goes to the heart and to the heart of the matter. It moves me that you keep returning to this poem as events unfold in Iran. Quite a testimony to the power of the poem. Thank you for posting this.

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/3/2010, 9:17 pm
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deepwaters Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Tere -

We will see. It is true that something has shifted - a baby was born last year and you just cannot return it to womb. This movement cannot be ignored. The hard part is when you have loved ones involved. Feb 11th will be a big day and the government has already started arresting journalists and intellectuals & has promised to use violence.


Kat -

Thank you for commenting. The translation is open to critic; I forgot to mention it above.
Feb/4/2010, 4:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Dear all –

In Iran, at least in Tehran, demonstrations are planned for Feb 11th. The demonstrations have not really stopped, but have become smaller gentler episodes – all the while larger numbers of arrests (mostly students, journalists, and intellectuals) are taking place.

For example, here are 1000 students protesting group arrests of students, particularly from dormitories. This is one of the top technical universities in Iran: video from yesterday

The feb 11th demonstration is expected to be one of the largest so far. The government has already announced that they will not hesitate to use force and violence (apparently they are under the wrong impression that they have not used force yet), which suggests this might the one of the bloodiest street battles so far.

I am not sure what I am asking here. Perhaps for you to keep them in your thoughts and hope that I don’t lose a loved one to this movement. These are the moments I am most envious of people of faith. I would be preparing for battle if I were there, which is why I have kept this note private in Atelier. My thought is burdened by the dark clouds in the horizon.
-s

 
Feb/8/2010, 5:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Well, I am going to take a chance here. The message speaks too closely to my political passions. And, besides, I can't ignore what the post says.

I am frankly very glad you are not in Tehran this month. I sense that where you would be would be a beastly parcel of city street to stand on. I think I get what you are doing with your poetry these days and with your translations. You are looking to humanize, make real and personal, individual Iranians, and make real a long tradition of Persian poetry that has always spoken to individual love of life. This is your job, Shabfriend, your vector. You've chosen it. Now keep to it.

This time the revolution will win. Students got betrayed and used by their elders and leaders in '78. To your friends and relatives in Iran tell them this anecdote. In the summer of 1968 the then President of France, Charles de Gaulle famously, fatuously, said: Apres moi, le deluge. The students response? Apres le deluge, ce'st moi.

You bet I'll be aware of what happens come Thursday.

Tere
Feb/8/2010, 9:40 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Shab,

I did not know that February 11th is scheduled to be a day of protest in Iran. I will keep the protesters, your loved ones and you in my thoughts and prayers. (To me prayers are like good hopes and well wishes set free and lifted up to the universe.) I will also check the news to see if there are any reports about what is going on. I hope some news does get out. The world is watching, or wants to watch. I am reminded of the harrowing day in China when the students protested in Tianamnen Square.

All my best,
Kat

P.S. I just reread Shamloo's poem, and it gave me a shiver. The words vibrate off the page and plunge into the heart. Thank you for your translations, mon ami.

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/9/2010, 7:55 am
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ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Shab,

I was thinking about how democracy does not seem to be coming to the USA; then for some reason, I thought of Iran and felt better.

Thanks for the news, now we know.

Chris
Feb/9/2010, 9:28 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Chris,

According to Sarah Palin, it's time for a new revolution. Since a lot of the tea party folks, like Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, are for seceding from the Union, and since Palin's husband, Todd, was once a member of Alaska Independence Party, a group which advocates secession, some Americans may be fixing for a fight. If that comes, Universe help us, I'll be singing Cohen's "Democracy" while I'm out there protesting. One potential problem: Those tea party people got guns. Remember the gun-toting guy who showed up at one of Obama's campaigg rallies?

Sorry, Shab, for taking the topic away from Iran. We're not there yet, but even in a republic like this one, the road to democracy is a precious, precarious form of government that should not be taken for granted. I suspect one of the reasons the events in Iran resonate with most Americans is because deep down inside we know that.
Feb/9/2010, 10:02 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Thank you all for your words and thoughts.
-s
Feb/10/2010, 1:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


Shab,

What is the latest news? Have you heard any? Again, I apologize for my self-centered digression (yikes) into American politics.
Feb/15/2010, 11:40 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Never Have I Feared Death (Shamloo)


I think the demonstrations were not as cohesive as expected; Mousavi couldn't show up because of the government forces, but Karoubi (another presidential candidate who did not have a chance of winning but is an outspoken opposition) was beaten up in the street and his son was arrested; Khatami (ex-prez) was also arrested but was released an hour later; the blood shed that many feared did not take place. My guess is that the movement is re-evaluating itself and readjusting.

Thank you very much for your inquiry.
-s
Feb/15/2010, 4:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 


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