Let Us Believe in the Dawn of the Cold Season

And here I am,
a lonely woman
on the threshold of a cold season
at the dawn of realizing earth’s sullied existence
and the sky’s blue despair
and the impotence of these hands made of cement.

Time passed.
time passed and the clock struck four times.
Four times.
today is the winter solstice.
and I know the secret of seasons,
know the language of moments. The messiah sleeps in a grave and the earth -the hospitable earth— beckons one to serenity.

Time passed and the clock struck four times.

The wind blows in the alley. The wind blows in the alley,
and I think of the flowers’ mating,
their slender, anemic blossoms
and this tired tubercular age. A man passes by the wet trees,
A man whose strings of blue veins
are dead snakes wrapped about his throat, pounding his angry temples
with those bloodied syllables:
Salaam.
Salaam.

And I think of the flowers’ mating.

On the threshold of a cold season
and sin the mirrors’ grieving vigil,
in faint memories’ mournful wake,
and in the dusk pregnant with wise silence,
how can one cry Stop! to one who moves
so patiently,
heavily,
lost…
How can one say to this man that he is not alive,
that he has never been.

The wind blows in the alley,
and seclusion’s lonely crows
tour the old groves of boredom.
How lowly the ladder’s height.

They carried off a simple heart
to their fairytale places,
and now
how can one rise to dance, release
one’s childhood hair into flowing streams,
and crush underfoot the apple she has at last picked,
at last breathed in its its perfume?

Beloved, my truest friend,
such black clouds await the sun’s festival.

It was as if the bird flew along an imaginary line,
as if the young leaves that sensuously breathed in the breeze
lived in the lines of green delusion,
as if the purple flame that burned in the window’s chaste mind
were nothing but the innocent fantasy of a lamp.

The wind blows in the alley
and it is the dawn of destruction.
The wind also blew the day your hands fell to ruin.
Dear stars,
dear paper stars,
how can one take refuge in the verses of defeated prophets
when lies blow through the air like wind?

We will meet like those dead for a thousand and thousand years,
and then the sun shall judge the state of our bodies' decay.

I am cold. I am cold and I think I will never feel warm again.
Beloved, my truest friend, How aged was that wine?
Look, how heavy time stands here and how the fish nibble on my flesh. Why do you always keep me at the bottom of the sea?
I am cold and despise shell earrings, I am cold and I know nothing will remain
of the red delusions of a wild poppy but a few drops of blood.

I will let go of lines, of counting numbers too, and from among the limits of geometry, seek refuge in the soul of infinity.
I am naked, . naked,naked.Naked

as the hush between words of love.
My wounds are all exacted by love, . love, love, love.

I guided this wandering isle away
from the ocean's tempest, away
from the volcanoes' eruption. To shatter was the secret of that unbroken body
from whose humblest pieces the sun was born.

Salaam innocent night.

Salaam to you, this night, who transforms the wolves' eyes
into bony sockets of trust and faith. Beside your streams, the willows' souls are sniffing the axes' kind souls. I come from a world of apathetic thoughts, voices, and words.
A world like a snake's lair, a world of footsteps, of people who embrace you, all the while
weaving in their thoughts ropes to hang you by.

Salaam chaste night.

There is always a gap between seeing and the window.
Why did I not look? That time a man passed by wet trees . . . Why did I not look?

I think my mother wept that night, the night I felt the pain and a being formed in my womb,
the night I became an acacia bride, the night Isfahan's blue tiles echoed and the one who was half of me
returned to my womb. I saw his reflection, pure and bright as the mirror

and suddenly he called to me, and I became an acacia bride . . .

I think my mother wept that night. How useless the light that fell on this closed door.
Why did I not look? All the moments of happiness knew
your hands would come to ruin,
and still I did not look. Not until the clock's door flew open
and the sad canary sang four times,
four times, and I met the small woman with eyes like the phoenix's empty nests.
With each hurried step it was as if she carried the virginity of my lavish dreams
to the dark bed of night.

Will I ever again comb my hair with the wind? Will I ever again plant purple pansies in the garden,
or set geraniums in the sky behind the windowpane?
Will I ever again dance in the faces of wine glasses? Will I ever again wait anticipating the door bell's chime?

I told my mother: This is the end.
Before you know it, it shall happen;
let's send my obituary to the papers.

Hollow human. Hollow, trusting human. Look at his teeth singing as they chew,
and his eyes devouring as they stare,
and how he passes the wet trees:
patiently, heavily, lost, at the hour of four, at the very moment his blue veins,
wrapped about his throat like dead snakes,
pound his angry temples

with those bloodied syllables: Salaam. Salaam.

Have you
ever smelled those four water lilies? . . .

Time passed. Time passed and night fell
on the acacia's naked limbs,
glided on the windowpanes,

and with its cold tongue licked away
the remainder of the day. Where have I been? Where have I been that my body so smells of the night?
The grave is still soft- - I speak of the grave of two green, young hands . . .

How kind you were, beloved, my truest friend,
how kind when you lied, how kind when you closed the mirrors' eyelids,
loosened the bulbs that hung from their wire branches,
and led me through the dark to love's pastures, until that dizzying steam which follows thirst's fire
settled on the fields of sleep.

And the paper stars circling eternity,
why did they voice their words? Why did they take seeing to the house of visitation? Why did they take caressing to the modesty of a virgin's hair?
Look how the one who spoke with words, caressed with eyes, and was tamed by touch was nailed to the cross of apprehensions; how the branches of your fingers like five letters of truth left a mark on her cheek.

What is silence, what is it, my trusted friend?
What is silence but unspoken words? I am bereft of words, but the sparrows' language
is nature's unyielding euphoric flow. The sparrows' language means: spring, leaves, spring.
The sparrows' language means: breeze, fragrance, breeze.
The sparrows' language dies at the factory.

Who is this, she walking eternity's road towards the moment of fusion? She who winds her watch with childhood's logic of subtractions and additions? She for whom the day does not begin with rooster's crow, but with breakfast's aroma?
She who wears love's crown and has withered in the folds of her wedding gown?

And so in the end the sun did not shine at once on both poles of despair.
You drained of the blue tiles' echoes.

I am so brimming full that people pray over my voice . . .

Lucky corpses.
Tired corpses. Silent pensive corpses.
Social, chic, well-fed stiffs
in the stations of regularity and beneath suspiciously temporary lights,
who lustily buy futility's rotten fruits . . .

How they stand at intersections, worried about accidents
and whistles commanding Stop! at the very moment when a man . must, must, must be crushed beneath the wheels of time, a man who passes by wet trees . . .

Where have I been?

I told my mother: This is the end.
Before you know it, it shall happen.
Let's send my obituary to the papers.

Salaam strange loneliness. I concede this room to you because
black clouds always are prophets
of new purifying verses, and in a candle's martyrdom lies a resplendent secret
that its last and tallest flame grasps.

Let us believe, let us believe in the dawn of the cold season.
Let us believe in the ruin of imaginary gardens,
in idle inverted scythes, in confined seeds. . Look how it snows . . .

Perhaps the truth was those two young hands,
those young hands . buried beneath snow—
and in the coming year when spring mates with sky behind the window,
fountains of green saplings will erupt— saplings that bloom, beloved, my truest friend.

Let us believe in the dawn of the cold season . . .

Poem by Forugh FarrokhzadTranslated From Farsi by Sholeh Wolpé.