“In Darkness”, Forugh Farrokhzad

From Modern Poetry in Translation:

Forugh Farrokhzad is arguably one of the most significant Iranian poets of the twentieth century. Her poetry was the poetry of protest – protest through revelation – revelation of the innermost world of women (considered taboo until then), their intimate secrets and desires, their sorrows, longings, aspirations and at times even their articulation through silence.

She was also prominent among the group of gifted, bold poets who began the modernist movement in Iranian poetry, breaking away from the traditional poetic modes, both in form and subject matter. She died in a car crash at the age of 32.

This poem, ‘In Darkness’ (Miyaneh Tariki), is from her fourth book, Reborn, published in 1964. Her choice of words in this poem, as in all her poems, was fresh, new and exciting for mid-twentieth- century Iran.

In Darkness
Translation by Sholeh Wolpé

I called your name in darkness. All was silent and the breeze was
ferrying the curtains.
In the tepid sky
a star was on fire,
a star was leaving,
a star was dying.

I called your name.
Your name I called holding
my own being like a bottle
of milk between my hands.

The moon’s blue gaze
rapped against the glass.

From the cicada city
a blue song was ascending,
slithering like smoke
against window panes.

All night someone was panting
disappointed inside my chest.
Someone was rising.
Someone was lusting.
Two cold hands were pushing
her away once again.

All through the night
sorrow dripped from black branches.
Someone surprised herself.
Someone voiced your name.
The air, like debris,
collapsed on her head.

My tiny tree was in love with the wind,
the itinerant wind.
Where is the wind’s home? Where is the wind’s home?

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2 thoughts on ““In Darkness”, Forugh Farrokhzad

  1. je ne connaissais pas cette poétesse. Poignante poésie. Sa mort prématurée imprime ses paroles plus profondément en nous….musique, lenteur et invincible force….

    Liked by 1 person

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