Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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translation from Persian by Kaveh Bassiri


At nightfall, when the sun over the highlands
is veiled in the yellows of grief,
a raven sits alone by the shore.
The distant waters share the color of sky.
An oak, yellow with autumn,
has collapsed headlong
over a patch of rock.
From among the distant spots,
one appears,
a man in search of a corner
hidden from the eyes of others
where for a moment he can speak
the heart’s secret sorrows.

He finds a suitable place.
The raven’s gaze is fixed on him,
stitching unperturbed, like waves in a flood,
watching what passes on the road:
good omen or bad?

It sees a thing like others it has seen before,
a line on the horizon crossing its sight,
faraway scorched buildings,
a cloud over a remote beach.

Now, they look at each other from a distance,
this figure of a raven, and the darkness,
and that of a man, whatever you imagine.

Since the raven is a source of sorrow in the man’s eyes, ugly,
it is the subject of a tale of lamentation,
a bandit on the road to paradise.
It is perched to heap sorrow upon sorrow,
to appear in a dream at the threshold of sadness
and open the door for all
to destroy the small homes of those thoughts.

He calls out: “You, Raven!”
But indifferent to wet or dry, good or evil,
the raven stares at him,
cold and motionless,
as the waves sullenly come and go.
Something is hidden.
Something is chewed.  

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