Skip to content

Languages

16 article(s) translated from Farsi

Ney Boulevard

Were it not for the misery of waiting on it for hours and hours, “Ney Boulevard,” my dear, could, would, and, in fact, should have been the most exhilarating name a street can have. When I first heard the name I got very sentimental. Ney, Persian reed. I imagined a bamboo grove on the opposite side of the street, like the ones in Chinese paintings. I imagined farmers in conical straw hats and knee-length rubber boots pacing through the grove as they harvest bamboo shoots. All...

Mummy and Honey

During the seventh-day observance of Grandfather’s passing, paying no heed to the comings and goings of those serving tea and sweet drinks in the five-windowed drawing room, with its gilded scales glistening, it gently coiled around the bitter-orange tree and disappeared among its branches and leaves. No one saw it but the youngest brother, who had that day arrived from abroad. With eyes that from sleeplessness and a thousand thoughts had turned poppy red, he clumsily suffered...

The First Day

Author's note: I left Iran in 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution, and settled in Paris with my two small children. I was naïve enough to think that the chaotic upheaval of the beginning eventually would settle into normal life, and I could return. The increased hostility of the government toward the intellectuals and the war with Iraq, which lasted eight years, forced me to stay longer that I had imagined. I was educated in America and did not speak French. I had to start...

The Neighbor

All of us-myself, my children, and the friends who now and then drop to see us-are scared stiff of our neighbor on the floor below. Our life as expatriates in Paris is full of hidden anxieties and emotions. There is, first of all, a feeling of guilt for having come as strangers from across the border to encroach upon the rights of the native inhabitants. Underneath this guilty feeling lurks a silent, seething rage that must be suppressed, and a nagging sense of humiliation waiting for...

The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons

Mehrabad Airport, Tehran. Air France, flight 726 I hate this life of constant wandering, these eternal comings and goings, these middle of the night flights, dragging along my suitcase, going through Customs and the final torture, the humiliating body search. "Take off your shoes, open your handbag, let's see inside of your pockets, your mouth, your ears, your nostrils, your heart and mind and soul." I am exhausted. I feel homesick—can you believe it? Already homesick. And yet...

On Literature

A writer friend of mine told me that a few weeks ago he had had to exclude the most gifted of his students, a young man from Swabia or Baden or Württemberg - neither he nor I can really tell these regions apart - with the significant name of Stefan Hegel, from the course for young writers he had been invited to give by a foundation with connections to a large corporation, because this Hegel kept on interrupting the readings of the texts under discussion, sometimes raising objections...

Marked by the Moon: An Ancient Tale

Once upon a time, a long time ago-a very, very long time ago-in a corner of the world that was neither faraway nor near, there lived a girl whose name was Moon-Fairy. Moon-Fairy was kindhearted and helpful to everyone, but she carried a huge burden of sadness. She had no family or friends in the whole wide world. She was very lonely. She had been living with Bibi Khanom for as long as she could remember. Bibi Khanom had a daughter by the name of Golabetun, who was pretty but not kind. She...

I Pity the Garden

No one thinks of the flowers. No one thinks of the fish. No one wants to believe the garden is dying, that its heart has swollen in the heat of this sun, that its mind drains slowly of its lush memories. Our garden is forlorn. It yawns waiting for rain from a stray cloud and our pond sits empty, callow stars bite the dust from atop tall trees and from the pale home of the fish comes the hack of coughing every night. Our garden is forlorn. Father says: My time is...

Elegy

On the death of the poet Forugh Farrokhzad Searching for you on foothills of mountains, on thresholds of oceans and meadows, I cry. Searching for you in windy passes I cry at the crossroads of seasons in the weathered wood of a broken window frame that contains a cloud-stained sky. Looking for your portrait in this empty book— how long how long will pages keep turning? To embrace the flow of wind, and love who is sister to death— eternity has shared with you this secret....

The Fish

I think my heart has never been like this so warm and red. I feel even in the worst moments of this fatal night several thousand sun-springs in my heart surge up from deep certainty. I feel in every nook and cranny of these salt flats of despair several thousand wonderfully wet forests suddenly spring from the earth. * Oh certainty gone astray, oh runaway fish in the ponds of slippery mirror within mirror! I am a clear lagoon; now through the enchantment...

from The Moon and the Leopard

In The Moon and the Leopard, author Bijan Mofid developed a hint from a folk tale into a verse drama about the tragic love of the Leopard King for the Moon, first glimpsed as a reflection in a mountain spring. The Moon responds in kind, descending to earth-though she remains always just out of reach-to engage the Leopard in a poetic dialogue expressing their impossible and doomed love. By stopping in her course, the Moon stops time, leaving the world in an endless, freezing night. The...

from The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad

Men The market was greedy for hope. In the war-torn bazaar there was cheating and there was the hangman's rope. Sindbad (to a passerby) Do you know where I can find Nofal the merchant? 1st Man I don't know anything. Sindbad (to another passerby) Have you heard any news of my friend? 2nd Man I don't know anything. Sindbad (to another) Brother, have you seen Nofal the merchant? 3rd Man The name is familiar. Sindbad He's a good man. 3rd Man Maybe he was a good...

Hitchcock and Agha Baji

To my grandmother, and all other grandmothers whom we never treasured as much as they deserved--B. Dayani On that sunny autumn Thursday afternoon, between the hours of two and seven, three unusual incidents took place. From three to five, my friends and I went to Mahtab Cinema to see Hitchcock's Psycho. At six-thirty, Agha Baji came to our house to visit my grandmother. Fifteen seconds later, the tile floor in the bathroom collapsed and I almost fell through into the stone pit...

from Snow over Tehran

The smell of breakfast and cigarettes permeated the street around the teahouse. On his way in, Bahman recognized the errand boy from the public bath who was coming out with a tray of breakfast. "Hello, Mr. Bahman." "Hello. It seems you're open?" "It was finally our turn to get heating oil last night. We were tanking up during the bombing." "Save a place for me. I'm coming." "There's no need. No one knows we're open yet." The snowbound heights of the Alborz...

Iran as Cinema

The movie theater I found myself in was called Freedom; it stood on the corner of two main boulevards that, like the majority of streets in Tehran, are named after martyrs of the revolution: Martyr Beheshti, Martyr Eslamboli. Several hundred people could have easily fit in that space, but at most only twenty were there. Three soldiers sat a few rows ahead of me, munching on bags of salted melon seeds, cracking jokes every time the film we all were supposed to be watching failed to deliver...

Existence

If this is life-how low! and I, how shamed, if I don't hang my lifetime's lamp high on the dusty pine of this dead-end lane. If this is life-how pure! and I, how stained, if I don't plant my faith like a mountain, eternal memorial, to grace this ephemeral earth.

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.