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Seda: Voices of Iran

Nader Naderpour


Nader Naderpour was born in June 06, 1929 to educated parents, he traveled to Europe upon completion of his secondary education to study literature in Sorbonne University, Paris, France. 

On his return to Iran, he took up a position in the Department of Arts and Culture. Meanwhile he became Editor-in-Chief of the monthly journal of "Honar va Mardom".

Naderpour published his first poems in 1940s and completed four collections by 1970s. In 1964, he went to Rome where he studied Italian language and literature.

When he returned to Iran in 1971, he took over as the director of "Goroohe Adabe Emrooz" (Contemporary Literature Department) in the Iranian National Radio and Television, where he directed many programs on the life and works of contemporary literary figures. His efforts contributed significantly to the understanding and identification of a great many of today's literature.

Naderpour left Iran in 1980 for France and resided there until 1987. Later, he was elected to France's Authors Association, and participated in several conferences and gatherings.

In 1987, he moved to California. During his residence in the United States, Naderpour gave several speeches and lectures at Harvard University, Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. He was an imagist, a musician and a wordsmith in one. A classic poet living in a modern world with a modern style. He was regarded as one of the leaders of the movement of "New Poetry" in Iran and among other Persian speakers in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

Naderpour has published nine collections of poems, many of them translated into English, French, German, and Italian. Naderpour's poetry is rich in imagery and deeply imbedded in the texture of Persian language.

He died in Los Angeles on 18th February, 2000.


Homily of Perdition

(For Imam Ommat, Ayatollah Khomeini, "The People's Imam")

O, infernal nature! Although the oppression of the sky

gave you the heritage of my land,

under the mirthful sun of that land

your hand planted nothing but the seed of inhumanity.

It is time to inform you, you the newly planted.


Till the moment that your death message arrives

O, despicable man!

Till the moment that your wicked blood flows

on the cold cobblestone.

Let me compose an anthem to your annihilation.


In my eyes you are a black wind that suddenly

has stolen several thousand young leaves.

After the sun's death your dark spirit closed

several thousand thrilled eyes

to the morning and opened them to the night.


The starless nights that mothers' eyes

mourned tears running down their cheeks for their children.

In your cold eyes, O, you iniquitous man!

No one has seen compassion nor read repentance.


The white haired elderly that on the tombstone slab

have written the names of their loved ones

are crying blood in your days,

harvesting what they have never planted.


Although you removed the lion's image and the face of the sun

from the three colored flag of champions,

their memories are still the source of our enthusiasm.

And although the name of that eloquent Shahnameh writer

was stolen from the books and tomes,

only his holy voice exists in our thoughts.


Wait till the groans of your prisoners

are too loud to fit in their chests,

let the people's tears flood and their blood run

till red roses of revenge grow from the earth.


Wait till the morning of the revenge

when you get up from your morning sleep

and young and old, small and big, scream

O, black-hearted devil!

Your death will be celebrated by all men and women,

Your name will be removed from the journey of time.


The Sound of the Footstep 

In the large desert I am going through

the heavy steps of someone, in the heart of night,

travel with me and my shadow.


When I look back timorously

nobody is there except the wind and the tree,

one drunk, the other out of touch.


Exasperated, I ask myself:

if the one who accompanies me is not Satan,

then who is it whom I cannot see?


No answer, the desert is empty,

the mountain behind the tree is all alone.

And what I hear is:

The sound of someone’s weighty footsteps

Who is closest to me.


My eye, once again

endeavoring to find its identity,

is looking toward what is behind:

The moon on the depths of the horizon

is like a mask which the sun has pulled over its face

till in the heart of the night it starts its banditry again.

I am telling myself:

This is the same thing that every night

travels toward the end of the world with me.


Ah, you, the fallen shadow on the earth!

If, during the shining of the dawn,

you still continue walking along with me:

The footsteps of thousands of nights

with footsteps of hundreds of days

you would see on earth.

This sight would tell you

that this body, the sounds of whose footstep frightened you,

is "death" in the form of another day.


Thousands of women  

Thousands of men  

The women in veils  

The men in cloaks  

A single gold dome

With old storks

A joyless garden


With a few scattered trees

Devoid of laughter 


A half-filled courtyard pool  

With greenish water


Some old crows  

On piles of rocks  

Crowds of beggars


Every step of the way  

White turbans

Black faces

Translations by Farhad Mafie


The Fortune-teller

The sun's honeycomb had fallen aside,
The bees of light had abandoned their flight,
From behind the trampled lawn of sky
The fresh red petals of twilight had newly spread.

The old fortune-teller of wind appeared from distance,
The yellow shawl of autumn wrapped around his neck;
That day he was the guest of the street trees,
To hear their secrets from his bright fortune.

Each step he advanced he was greeted by a tree,
Each branch stretched its palm towards him;
He brushed aside all these hands,
Like gypsies, he tuned a strange song.

He sang and sang so much that the evening magpies
Summoned the night from within the trees,
Alarmed of that sound the leaves fell to the ground,
as if a thousand swallows were shot in the air.

Night crossed like a stream over these leaves,
Each leaf was cut like a fist;
Although no image he read in these hands,
The fortune-teller of wind saw the fortune of each leaf.

Translated by M. Alexandrian


O Earth, O Tomb, O Mother!

An old man who was walking behind the autumn-stricken trees,
Resembled my soul of 40 years age,
A soul more disturbed than the shade of hundred leaves
And more scattered than the trembling of hundred waves,
A soul ready to die,
An old man whose pointed staff
Continually disturbed the peace of that laughing spring.
It was my soul that was walking behind the autumn-stricken trees.

Ah I know:
No more this soul can see the sky
From the bright windows of dream;
It cannot look at trees and the sun;
Its strange sensation
- at sunrise after rainfall -
Shall no more breathe the wet perfume of the lawn.
His heart cannot escape the terror of the nights of old age.
Because he is too old,
His old age is dark and gloomy;
His old age is a dark chamber that has no opening to the street
Nor a street leading to the plain.

O I know!
That love that dawned on that morning of merry youth,
And touched the window of his cottage,
Has hidden its face from the unhappy soul,
And cast its desirous eyes to more youthful rivals.
He is too old,
His old age is dark and gloomy,
His face beams as it used to beam.
If at evening the mirror betrayed a single white hair 
from his silky jet black curls,
Today in its withered silky white hairs
You can't trace a black string,
Here the sun won't shine but on a snowy night.

Ah I don't know,
Under this agitated and gloomy snow of old age,
Under this heavy grayness of forgetfulness
How many embers have survived from the light years?
How many embers from those nights
Which behind an orange curtain rain poured cats and dogs
And a woman washed a weeping child in the raining of his caressing hairs,
And sought the dumb gaze of the child in the father's eyes.

Some embers have survived from those days
When on the other side of the room a small wall mirror
Showed the constant motion of the cradle and the forehead of the mother,
And in that corner of the chimney piece the clock
Moved its long pointers 
To and from
And the peasant women with henna dyed hands
Milked from swollen breasts of her cows at morning,
And the father was drinking in the leaf of iris.
The light of the brass cup boiled with loud echo,
And sprayed on the sun,
And the boiling Samovars
And the pale cups with golden edges ....
Cooled the tea with the cold morning breath.

Some embers have survived from those nights
When in the veranda the heart of an ancient torch burnt
And in the brazier, the dream of spring died,
And the sad ice flower.. carried the sad perfume of sunset 
To the colorful border of dawn,
And the dawn gazed at the darkness of that young soul.
How many embers have survived from those nights
When his heart trembled with the blowing of perfume
And his body was inflated with a heartbeat,
And his lip 
Repeatedly translated his language 
With the help of kisses.

Some embers have survived from those times
In which a heart burning wrath breathed in his breast,
His breath was sincere;
His cry echoed at all horizons
And the awe of his wrath 
Broke and shattered 
The chandeliers in God's mansion, 
And his pointed golden revolving finger tips,
Dropped in the heart of the most fresh turquoise light of morning 
And truth were released from chains and fetters.

Ah it is long since that in his ruined and agitated recollections
From all these things nothing by recollection -
Dumb and dead and frying and disturbed - can't be found,
In the nocturnal chamber of his sorrow you can't find a ray of joy,
At times it sees the way to forgetfulness,
And says with regret:
"Ah old age, o the age of prudence!,
O forgetfulness!, O the cause of silence and joy!,
Removed all these disturbing recollections from my mind.
O earth, O tomb!, O mother!,
When shall I lie in your bosom?
Don't give my turn to another one.
Don't give my turn to another one.



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