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deepwaters Profile
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After You (Forough)


(My second translation (Window was the first one) from her last volume of poetry: Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season) As always, critiques are most welcomed.


After You
By Forough Farrokhzad

Being seven years old
that wondrous moment of departure,
after you, time passed in a cloud of insanity and ignorance
after you, the window, that connection
bright and alive
between moon and bird
between moon and breeze
broke
..................broke

....................................broke

after you, that dusty doll
that never said anything
but wa wa wa, drowned
after you, we killed the sound
of the crickets, and fell in love
with the cling of a bell rising from alphabets,
with the whistle coming from arms factories

after you when we played under desks,
from under desks, to behind desks, from behind desks
we reached top of desks
we played on top of the desks and lost
lost your color, my 7-year-old childhood

after you, we cheated on each other
after you, with lead bullets and splattered blood drops
we erased all memorabilia
from plastered temples of alley walls
after you, we went to the streets
screamed
“long live”
“down with”
and in the raucous of the square, we applauded
the street singers with small coins
after you, we murdered each other
we judged love, and our hearts
remained anxious in our pockets
as we judged every share of love
after you, we took refuge in cemeteries
death was breathing under grandmother’s veil
death was that giant tree
where the living on this side of beginning
would tie prayer rags to its tired branches
and the dead on the other side of the finish line
would claw at its phosphoric roots
death was sitting on that holy altar,
in its four corners, four blue tulips
came to life.
I hear the wind
I hear the wind, my 7-year-old childhood
I got up and drank
and suddenly remembered
how your young fields feared the attack of grasshoppers.
How much should you pay?
how much
for the growth of this cement cubicle?

Whatever we have had
to lose, we have already lost,
without any lights, we headed out
and the moon, the moon, that kind being, was always there
in childhood memories of a muddy rooftop
on top of the young field who feared the attack of grasshoppers,
how much should you pay?

Feb/7/2010, 6:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: After You (Forough)


From her last volume you say, right? I am trying to remember. Forough died in her thirties, maybe early thirties. It was a car accident. I think she swerved off the road to avoid hitting a bus with children, slammed into a wall or a tree. Died instantly. She was in her thirties when she wrote this masterful poem, yes? I was in my mid-thirties before I finally had confidence in my own voice.

This poem is huge. I see where she draws on what is traditional to Persian poetry, at least as I know it. Notice how she draws on all the elements, earth, air, fire, and water, and on the wind especially. The idiom is classically Persian. Then notice how she individuates personality. Then notice how she sets love, longing, and life itself in contradistinction to the historical moment involving war and revolution in which she is forced to live and write. Camus would have gotten her intentions immediately. This poem is huge. This poem makes me feel small, as small as poetry in America has been for a good fifty years.

Look how she trades in primary images and primary emotions without self-consciousness or embarrassment or a nagging need to explain herself. She does not explain herself in what she perceives and feels. She says to me: this is how I see and feel when I am alone and have freedom to see and feel. And look at her sense of relationship. She gets that relationship is a dynamic, and that the root of that dynamic is tension, and that the tension hues time, all time. Then look at how she requires of herself she be a court reporter or a journalist of the moment who is also required to take accounting of everything that has led up to the moment.

Too many livid lines and images to comfortably list. This may be the most lyrically powerful of Forough's poems you've yet shown us. And I hope you get just how organically unified is the poem.

As for your English equivalent of her words, and of course I don't speak Farsi, there is not one word or phrase or colloquialism that seems out of place to me. I look at her picture and I hear her just this way.

Thank you, Shabfriend. The gift is huge.

tere
Feb/12/2010, 9:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: After You (Forough)


Tere-

As always, thank you for your support and enthusiasm. I am glad you are reading the translations and enjoying them. I have another one that will go up today.

Thanks also for talking about the poem and what it communicates with you. I learn from it.

Thanks again.
-s
Feb/15/2010, 4:41 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: After You (Forough)


Hi shab,

While you are gone, I am a going to reread these Forough translations. There are several, like this one, I have yet to comment on, so that will give me something to look forward to.

In my initial read through, the one place I stumbled was in this stanza:

"after you when we played under desks,
from under desks, to behind desks, from behind desks
we reached top of desks
we played on top of the desks and lost
lost your color, my 7-year-old childhood"

I love these lines:

"Whatever we have had
to lose, we have already lost,
without any lights, we headed out"

I started to say this in another post, but I don't think I did: Forough is a deep diver. That's a phrase Hawthorne said about Melville (or vice versa?). At any rate, Forough is one, which is why I am certain her poems will strike a chord with many readers and why I am glad you are translating them so that an English-speaking audience can embrace them.




Last edited by Katlin, Mar/1/2010, 10:10 pm
Mar/1/2010, 10:08 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: After You (Forough)


Hi shab,

Another whirlwind of a poem that starts out innocently enough but takes a dramatic turn with the repeated "broke." (I like the way you have spaced them.) The reader is taken down, down into a kind of mob mentality as the fear and horror take over. Beware, Reader!

I found these lines very moving:

"after you, we took refuge in cemeteries
death was breathing under grandmother’s veil
death was that giant tree
where the living on this side of beginning
would tie prayer rags to its tired branches
and the dead on the other side of the finish line
would claw at its phosphoric roots"

I agree with Tere:

"Then look at how she requires of herself she be a court reporter or a journalist of the moment who is also required to take accounting of everything that has led up to the moment."

Forough is bearing witness. Again Akhmatova comes to mind:

quote:

Here's “Instead of a Preface”, which launches the poem ["Requiem"]:

In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror, I spent 17 months waiting in line outside the prison in Leningrad. One day somebody in the crowd identified me. Standing behind was a young woman, with lips blue from the cold, who had of course never heard me called by name before. Now she started out of the torpor common to us all and asked me in a whisper (everyone whispered there), 'Can you describe this?' And I said, 'I can.' Then something like a smile passed over what had once been her face.



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Mar/6/2010, 11:19 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 


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