A man is not a bird
that he might make his home on any shore he flies to.
A man has the destiny of a leaf.
A leaf, when separated from the heights of its branch,
is trampled underfoot by passersby in the streets.

Qom, Iran, 28 June 1999

آدمی پرنده نيست‌

تا به هر کران که پرکشد، برای او وطن شود

سرنوشت برگ دارد آدمی‌

برگ‌، وقتی از بلند شاخه‌اش جدا شود،

پايمال عابران کوچه‌ها شود

Qanbar Ali TabeshQanbar Ali Tabesh

Qanbar Ali Tabesh was born in 1969 in Sangshanda village near Ghazni in Afghanistan. He fled from the war in Afghanistan to Iran, where he settled in the city of Qom. He has a B.A. in Persian Literature from Payam-e Nur University and a B.A. in Political Science from the Human Sciences Institute of Qom. He is currently writing his master's thesis in political science at Baqer ol-Olum University in Qom. He is a member of the editorial committee of Khatt-e Sevvom, the leading cultural and literary magazine of Afghan refugees in Iran. He has published three collections of poetry and one of literary criticism.

Translated from DariDari by Zuzanna OlszewskaZuzanna Olszewska

Zuzanna Olszewska is a junior research fellow in Oriental Studies at St. John’s College, Oxford, working on the ethnography and literary and intellectual history of Iran and Afghanistan. She recently completed a doctoral thesis in Social Anthropology at Oxford University, titled Poetry and its Social Contexts among Afghan Refugees in Iran, which received a Dissertation Award from the Foundation for Iranian Studies. Her translations of Afghan Persian poetry have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines, including Modern Poetry in Translation, and she is preparing an anthology of Afghan poetry.