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Behzad Zarrinpoor and Reza Shantiya

Iranian poet, Behzad Zarrinpoor was born in 1969 in Khorramshahr. From a high school teacher and a journalist to a publisher, Zarrinpoor is the founding member of many Iranian newspapers including, "The Abrar Economy", "Zan" (Woman), "Asia" and "Pool" (Money). He received the Golden Pen Award as the "Poet of the Year" at the Gardoon Poetry Festival for his collection of poems "May the Sun Shine from Four Directions" (1996). He is currently the editor in chief of "Economy and Life" monthly and also the founder and director of "Aknoon" publishing house in Tehran.


How Painless

How unveiled becomes
the tongue of the window
when you have nothing but pain
to draw on earth

How unreasonable becomes the sun
when it rises from the sea
and you still haven't dreamed about leaving

How painless becomes the world
when a leaf becomes a simple event
that falls on earth

I draw the curtains like a sigh.


Staring at Simplicity

I stare at simplicity
I swear by simplicity
All these trivial events could be
the first verse of a poem
for which I loved morning so much

But always
only after washing off my dreams from childhood
after mother's freshly brewed good morning
after the school break, after bread
after passing from the lane and dinner
after shutting the door
I have gone to compose it

And now after coming such a long way
maybe a stone imbalanced on the edge of a ditch
or a hook that no rock welcomes
or...what difference does it make anyway?
When a poem is meant to be incomplete
the simple gait of a partridge could be
the beginning of an avalanche
so that the mountain peak would not be the usual last verse
so that I simply stare
to see that all my poems have begun from the second verse
as if I have begun life from the second verse
and those simple apples by my feet
are the introduction to an autumn
that I haven't plucked.


Incomplete Seasons

It was thinking of its bonding with the stars,
the songless sycamore
that lost its childhood
by the spring,
fell in love by the road
and when its roots reached oil
its memories turned into flames

(when a tree is plucked off its songs
no bird flutters on its burnt branches
all incomplete seasons know this)

I think about the bonding of my branches with long windows
and in the sunset of my roots
I gradually lose my value in the eyes of the axe.


These Very Trees

Say what you must
what is it to you if it doesn't rain?

For years now, they don't listen to each other's stories here
It's not their fault
They were born with the fruit vendor's knife
Unless they see you in black
they won't believe that you have lost something

You too must not condone anything
these very trees that like life
have reached a new season beside you every time
and how simply you have walked past them
How simple we were
in thinking that if we don't watch the rain
we won't age drop by drop

In these moments that have conspired by all means
to put us at the end of a story,
where the protagonist doesn't die for anyone
and will not stay because of anyone
these men lingering behind the door
who have not left their keys inside as every night
and are afraid of opening the door slowly
know that
the lights in the house burn out of fear
and not expectation

They knock and hide their hands
so that the one who greets them
notices their eyes first
and they don't know
that their wives have already smelled it from their knocks
how very empty their hands are.

Behzad Zarrinpoor
Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi


Reza Shantiya

Iranian poet, Reza Shantiya was born in 1979 in Tehran. His debut book of poems "Stone Age" was designated as the "Best Iranian Poetry of Today" in 2001. Shantiya is a graduate of Law from Tehran University. "Dispersing Falsities" (2007) and "The Gospel of Shantiya" (2008) are among his other collections of verses.

Q Q Bang Bang

The painting that I
drew with these very hands
of (we don't fear) the night
I hung on the neck
of the sky
and with these very same hands
I commanded fire

The night that I had painted
was pregnant
and its stars bled
until this very morning

Someone was sprinkling salt on my
"In life there are wounds[1]", I said go
I will surely talk to my shadow
and convince it
that definitely wounds
are the salt, the spice of life
Someone was sprinkling wounds
on "my life"

I was taking off my fingers from your shoulder
I was loading my fingers that I had taken off from your shoulders
I was withdrawing my fingers that I had taken from your shoulder and loaded
I was not thinking of the moon

I am smoking it with your "hold it",
the painting
that I drew from (we don't fear) last night

Reza Shantiya
Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi


All of me
is taken up by the gallows
All the same
I am a neck and a head
beyond death
The earth from this height
is just
earth from height
and the only thing that has changed, is it my voice?

Like a fish, in a few moments, I will try to swallow my hook and reach my chiaroscuro[2]- that
broke my thirty ninth rod and fled

So my eyes have opened up like a hawk
and a more altered voice comes out of my end
I will play the rest of this game under the earth..
I will copy my death from the one next to me..
No, no, I ..won't die

I will only become ants
as much as my entire being

(Now like a good boy, he goes to his ancestral home, lulls himself to sleep and wakes himself up in a better world)

Get up!
Here,  the shoulders of the city of pain are broad 
Leave your coffins in the hands of the wind
And get lost as quickly from this poem
Before anything,
pomegranate trees have sucked all
blood out of the dead.

Reza Shantiya
Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi

A Poem that is Life

When life surrounded me from all sides
I took myself as hostage
And I warn you:
"Unless I don't set myself free
I won't set this self free"

Please keep calm!
By the testimony of my poems I am a rebel
But I promise in this poem
No one's nose will run blood

                                             Don't be a fool man!
                                             You are surrounded from all sides
                                             And there's no escape
                                             Even if the hostage...you kill you


I put down my pencil
and push it slowly towards you all
with my feet

                                            You put your hands on you head
                                            And I run away from your grasp!

A few dribbles later:

Life has surrounded you from all sides
and I have come
to surrender myself

Reza Shantiya
Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi

Post Seventies Tombstone

She cubed me in such a way to the cubism of the wall
that the blistering wound of the cup became coffee
and the air in the cafe was just about to brew

I no longer burned to suck the nipples of sleep
and before I could come to myself
the train rain rain rain fell in the stations of cloud loud loud loud
after themselves they went

the atmosphere was late
and sleep in the most southern parts of my yawn awn awn awn was searching for street
where a woman with a basket passed everyday

with this face, I am more of a tableau than Pablo
my mother,
how she closed the bet of her eyes on me
and my wife,
how for many many years
she sat by a wall that held my photo tight to its bosom

and this wall
that I had never drawn it across the street
why hasn't it kept my handwriting as a memento?

These are the questions of Doctor of Philosophy in Death exam
And those eyes that you have in you are:

()Beauty () Serenity ()Fidelity ()Magnanimity

and the wounds of the heart
of those who are more of bones to me now.

You can be a poet and not die
You can live and not be a poet
It's time we sent an obituary to the newspapers

Reza Shantiya
Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi

[1] A line from The Blind Owl, the major work of Iranian writer, Sadegh Hedayat (1903-1951) in which the narrator addresses his shadow-which resembles an owl- in a confessional tone. The actual original line is: "There are wounds in life which like leprosy eat into the soul and erode it in solitude".

[2] Chiaroscuro, a short story collection by Iranian writer, Sadegh Hedayat (1903-1951)


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