Narcissus Flower: a poem by Majid Nafisi

My beloved
Has a Narcissus flower in mouth,
Her souvenir
From the prisons of Iran.

I know that nightly
From behind bars
One can see the trace of flowers
On the face of the moon

And mornings
Hear the flapping wings
Of migrating cranes In the blue sky.

I know that beneath eyelids
And clenched fists
And the gunless silence
Between two executions
And the stark white of final letters
And the meaning of single taps on walls
And the dewy folds of sorrow
And the stripped down glimpses of bliss
And the hollow sockets of pain
And the dimbrightness of hope
And the cloud-clad pinnacles of pride,
One can,
Yes, one can
Hide away spring.

And yet, I am awed
At how in dark captivity
One can raise
A Narcissus flower
Whose purity
Has not been stained
By blood.

Majid Nafisi

دلدار من
گل نرگسی به دهان دارد
که با خود از زندان های ایران آورده است۰

می دانم که از پس میله ها
شبها می توان در چهره ی ماه
نقش گلی را دید

و صبح ها در آبی آسمان
صدای بال دُرنای مهاجر را شنید۰
می دانم که در پس پلک ها
و قاب مشت ها
و فاصله ی میان دو تیربار
و سپیدی نامه های آخرین
و پیام تک ضربه ها بر دیوار
و گوشه های تر غم
و درزهای برهنه ی شادی
و حفره های خالی درد
و تاریک روشنای امید
و قله های پنهان غرور
می توان
آری، می توان
بهار را پنهان کرد
با این همه در شِگِفتم
که در آن بند تاریک
چگونه می توان گل نرگسی پرورد
که لکه های خون
سپیدی آن را نپوشانده باشد

Posted on Translation project

Majid Naficy was born in Iran in 1952. He published poetry, criticism and an award-winning children’s book in Iran. During the 1970’s Dr. Naficy was politically active against the Shah’s regime. After the 1979 Revolution, as the new regime began to suppress the opposition, his first wife, Ezzat Tabaian and his brother Sa’id were amongst the many to be executed. He fled Iran in 1983, eventually settling in Los Angeles with his son Azad. He has since published six volumes of poetry in both English and Farsi, as well as numerous books of criticism. His most recent volume of poetry in English, Father and Son, was published in 2003 by Red Hen Press and his poem “I Don’t Want You Petroleum” appears in Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War (Thunder’s Mouth Press / Nation Books, April 2003). He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California in Los Angeles. His doctoral dissertation, Modernism and Idealogy in Persian Literature: A Return to Nature in the Poetry of Nima Yushij (University Press of America) was published in 1997. Dr. Naficy is also the co-editor of Daftarhaye Kanoon, a periodical in Farsi published by the Iranian Writer’s Association in Exile.

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