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deepwaters Profile
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I Pity the Garden (Forough)


(one more from her last (unfinished) volume of poetry: Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season)


I Pity the Garden
By Forough Farrokhzad


No one is concerned about the flowers
no one worries about the fish
no one wants to believe
the garden is dying
its heart has swelled under the sunlight
its consciousness, slowly
very slowly
empties of all the green memories
and the garden’s feeling --
an object isolated
and decaying in its isolation
our backyard is lonely
in the anticipation of a foreign cloud
our backyard yawns
and our pond is empty
the small juvenile stars
plunge down from the trees,
from the windows where the fish live
behind the faded color glass,
at night, I hear someone coughing
our backyard is lonely

Father says:
“it’s over for me
over for me
I did what I had to do
I am done”
In his room, morning till night
he reads Beowulf
or The Odyssey
he tells Mother:
“damn all the fish and all the chickens
who cares, when I am dead
if there is a garden
or not,
retirement is enough for me”
Mother’s whole life
is a prayer rug, spread
at the threshold of horrors of hell,
she is always searching
in everything, for a trace of a sin
and thinks that the backyard is infected
by the sin of a plant
Mother prays all day
she is a natural sinner
she prays and blows on all the flowers
on all the fish
blows on herself
Mother sits in the anticipation
of the savior and the accompanying bliss
Brother calls the backyard “cemetery”
he laughs at the rowdiness of the weeds
numbers the fish carcasses, those infected bits
under the sick skin of the water
My brother is addicted to philosophy
he sees the cure of the backyard
in its annihilation
he gets drunk
and punches doors and walls
tries to say
he is tired, in pain, and in despair;
like his ID and calendar and lighter and pen
he takes his despair
for walks in the city
his despair
is small enough
to get lost in the swarm of a local bar.

And my sister, she used to be a friend of flowers,
after one of Mother’s beatings,
she would take her heart’s simple chats
to their kind and quiet gatherings,
occasionally, she would invite a family of fish
to an afternoon of sun and sweets…
she now lives on the other side of town
in her fake house
with her fake goldfish
in the love-refuge of her fake husband
beneath the branches of a fake apple tree
sings fake songs
and makes natural children
whenever she comes for a visit
and the hem of her skirt is smeared with backyard’s poverty
she showers in perfume
whenever she comes for a visit
she is pregnant
our backyard is lonely
our backyard is lonely
all day
I hear, from behind the door, the sounds of ripping
and explosion,
our neighbors in the their garden, instead of flowers,
plant grenades and weapons
our neighbors cover their tiled ponds
with a lid
and the tiles, unwillingly
are a hidden storage for gunpowder
the kids on our street have filled
their backpacks with small bombs.
Our backyard is confused
I fear the time that it would lose its heart
I fear the image some many hands, worthless,
the image of alienation of so many faces,
like a student
who is insanely in love with geometry
I am alone
and think we can take the garden to the hospital
I think…
I think…
I think…
And the backyard’s heart has swelled under the sunlight
its consciousness, slowly, very slowly
empties of all the green memories.

 
Feb/15/2010, 5:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: I Pity the Garden (Forough)


Again I am blown away, Shabfriend. Instinctively I know I am in the company of a major, if not great poet. But also Forough's voice is starting to become familiar to me. I am getting the swing of her, her methods and the syntax of her thinking.

What a haunting and original metaphor is her lonely and desperate backyard with its dieing garden and fish. How its despair has infected the whole family she speaks of. That is what comes through for me, at least. Nor is that enough for her. She steps us out into the neighborhood and even into the city. The line about the brother's addiction to philosophy I find particularly affecting. Anyway, while I think I get what the backyard means for her, I'm still not quite sure. My guess is that it has something to do with her time and place, perhaps evoking a sense of barren Modernity itself. That is my guess.

This poem is different from the others, don't you think? This poem is made by a thinking poet.

I get why maybe you carry over to something the West would know. But reading Beowolf and the Odyssey is jarring to me, since, not believable. I would suggest keeping to what Forough would have read. I am assuming it would have been classics in Persian poetry. And also the line: "I fear the image some many hands, worthless." Should it be so many hands?

Now I am wanting to know what Forough means to you? Why her, Shabfriend? Why spend so much time and effort on Forough?

I feel this could be a literary event, what you are making, which is the rare thing. And I am feeling lucky, getting to witness it. Certainly I am now hooked on the poet.

Tere
Feb/16/2010, 3:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
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quote:


The line about the brother's addiction to philosophy I find particularly affecting.


I do too. I like the line about his addiction; also the line about seeing the cure in annihilation is so perfect for me.

quote:

Anyway, while I think I get what the backyard means for her, I'm still not quite sure. My guess is that it has something to do with her time and place, perhaps evoking a sense of barren Modernity itself. That is my guess.


I am not quite sure either. My guess is along the same lines, that the backyard is the context of her life, which includes her family, the city, the world and its conflicts, and yes modernity and its disconnect with nature - I see it barren in that sense, in that the earth and its gifts no longer suffice.

quote:

This poem is different from the others, don't you think? This poem is made by a thinking poet.


For me, the poems in the last book have a bit of a different tone. You know the collection was unfinished, so after her death it came out with only 8 poems. I like every single one of them, which almost never happens to me in a collection. I was working on the poem that the collection is named after "Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season", but it is so long that I decided I would work on the shorter ones, while working on that too.

quote:

I get why maybe you carry over to something the West would know. But reading Beowolf and the Odyssey is jarring to me, since, not believable. I would suggest keeping to what Forough would have read.


hmm. something to think about for sure. I wasn't sure what to do there. thank you.

quote:

And also the line: "I fear the image some many hands, worthless." Should it be so many hands?


I wanted it to be parallel with "so many faces" which is how she has it. is it not working for you?

quote:

Now I am wanting to know what Forough means to you? Why her, Shabfriend? Why spend so much time and effort on Forough?


gosh, Tere. such complicated question, or maybe it seems complicated because I don't know the answers. I am not sure what she means to me; her poetry has been a constant in my life - a poem I wrote a while back "it's only apple that remains" was an homage to her who has a poem "it's only sound that remains", I understand her language, I know her voice, she writes about me.

as to why so much time and effort...that's a question I ask myself. I know it gives me pleasure, a pleasure that is mostly felt when others read the poems and share her poetry; I think it is helping me be better at trying to be a poet. I really don't have a meaningful response. I do feel that I have a unique set of properties that qualify me to translate her work.

Thanks again for commenting, Tere.

Feb/17/2010, 1:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Terreson Profile
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Shab says: "gosh, Tere. such complicated question, or maybe it seems complicated because I don't know the answers. I am not sure what she means to me; her poetry has been a constant in my life - a poem I wrote a while back "it's only apple that remains" was an homage to her who has a poem "it's only sound that remains", I understand her language, I know her voice, she writes about me.

as to why so much time and effort...that's a question I ask myself. I know it gives me pleasure, a pleasure that is mostly felt when others read the poems and share her poetry; I think it is helping me be better at trying to be a poet. I really don't have a meaningful response. I do feel that I have a unique set of properties that qualify me to translate her work."

You just answered my question, Shabfriend. She means something to you because she is in you, being in you she stretches you and pushes and pulls on you. I get that. I feel the same way about Goethe.

Sure loving bearing witness to what is happening here.

Tere
Feb/17/2010, 8:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: I Pity the Garden (Forough)


Hi Shab,

I was really taken with this poem. The first thing that struck me was the humor, dark humor to be sure, but very effective. I like the sweep of the poem: from the portrait of the garden, to portraits of the family members, then out to the neighbors' gardens and beyond. The individual portraits are well done--universal, recognizable, without being generic. One after the other, the details and observations in this are spot-on, powerful. I can't know, of course, how this compares to the original, but what you've got works well. No fuzzy thinking or lazy language here.

I agree with Tere that you might do better to stick to the original texts (if not the titles , then perhaps the authors?). It often works when you change the names of flowers, for example, to something more western, but here it is less effective. Which leads mt wonder if the flowers should be changed either? How faithful do you want/need to be?

I think what Tere was asking is, should the line be:

"I fear the image so many hands, worthless,"

instead of:

"I fear the image some many hands, worthless,

quote:

"it's only apple that remains" was an homage to her who has a poem "it's only sound that remains"



You know I am a fan of that poem, so I hope you will transalte the poem that inspired it someday!
Feb/17/2010, 10:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: I Pity the Garden (Forough)


Tere-

Thank you, once again, for your support and encouragement. It is truly appreciated and keeps me going.

---------
Kat-

Thank you for commenting, and for talking about what the poem communicates with you. It is most helpful.

quote:


I agree with Tere that you might do better to stick to the original texts (if not the titles , then perhaps the authors?).


yes, I considered doing the same thing with the titles that I did with "ziaratnamekhan: in Windup Doll - i.e., just put an explanation at the bottom.

quote:

It often works when you change the names of flowers, for example, to something more western, but here it is less effective. Which leads mt wonder if the flowers should be changed either? How faithful do you want/need to be?


good question to ask. and I am glad you asked it because I do see/feel a difference bewteen the two cases.

quote:

I think what Tere was asking is, should the line be:

"I fear the image so many hands, worthless,"

instead of:

"I fear the image some many hands, worthless,


whoops. my glasses needed cleaning. yes, it should be "so many hands"

quote:

"it's only sound that remains"

... so I hope you will transalte the poem that inspired it someday!


Working on it. it is not turning out that prettily in English. at least not yet emoticon

Thanks again.
-s
Feb/18/2010, 6:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 


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