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Seda: Voices of Iran

Bijan Jalali

Bijan Jalali was born and educated in Tehran and received his BS in French literature.  Jalali's first volume of poetry, DaysOur Hearts and the World (1965), continues the poet's quest for simplicity and directness. The Color of Waters (1971) reflects Jalali's concern for more free forms.

In his unpretentious poems, he reflects moments of pain and boredom by brief words and passing images. His best poems portray vivid images in the mind. He is the most contemplative modern poet and reflects different philosophical thoughts with an intimate language, which never tires the reader. The poet takes pains to be simple and clear by resorting to concise prose to convey his message. His second volume,

I want to die

I want to die,
Not that my heart should fail,
And my body grow cold,
And be leveled with earth;
I want to die
Not that I should not hear any voice,
Or the sun will fail to shine on me,
Or I grow blind
To the moon and stars.
I seek a quite extraordinary death,
Like the water turning into vapor,
Like the blossoming of the seed,
Like the setting of the sun,
Like a sky which is clouded.
I want to be annihilated,
to be born again in another world,
A world which I have not yet named,
A world which I have not completely tried,
A world resembling the world of imagination
In which everything is ordinary,
Except the fear of annihilation,
Except wretchedness,
Except loneliness.


Words arrive

Words arrive
Greet each other 
And sit beside each other,
A poem emerges
And I sing it
And I write it.

I hear a fresh voice,
Somebody is calling me by name,
And I watch
The fresh face 
Of the day,
And the fresh face of the earth,
And the fresh face of the light
And the fresh face of the water.

Do not take away the earth from me,
For without Earth
I will be devoid of heaven,
And I can't
Hear the sound of my footsteps
Nor can I know to which house it walks
And where it will reach?

And earth again,
And stars bred by earth,
And the sky too 
Which will turn to dust one of these days.

You are asleep 
Between heaven and earth 
Somewhere in my memory,
And your sleep is long
And my sorrow is without end.

Your voice
Was colorful
Like the play of light,
At the evening precipice 
Or like farewell of flowers
With the spring.

I never understood,
O tall lady,
Where do you carry me
And in which road
You will leave me alone,
And when you will recall me again;
O fair lady!
O daytime!
O bright sky.

Translations to English by M. Alexandrian


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