Three Poems by Manouchehr Atashi and Mohammad Biabani Translated from the Persian

Translation by Marjan Modarres Sabzevari


Daggers, kisses and treaties
(The White Wild Horse) 
Manouchehr Atashi
The white wild horse
Conceitedly stood at the stall
Contemplating the wretched chest of plains
Perturbed about the castle of scorched sun
Vainglorious in mind, but lame in the heart
No fragrance of fresh pasture attracts it
The white wild horse, deluge of valleys
Very often has rolled from crest to trough
Frightening away the vain deer 
Very often in trough, detached from crest
To herd the panthers full of immodesty
The white wild horse, with silver horseshoes
Has scribed copious stories to the scroll of approaches
Kidnapped copious girls from the doorway of lodges,
The sun, often in its own warm pathway
Set from neck to its femur,
The moonlight, often in the declivity of plains 
Wrapped a yellow scarf around its thick neck
The highland, often at dawn in the stiff breeze
Awoken by cheers of its hoofs from sleep
The white wild horse’s shedding mane yet
stands wrathfully at the stall
Its hoofs beat the bits of earth
Hungry sparrows fly
From its feet
Remembrance of its loosened bridles
Is driving through the scorched castles

The white rebellious horse
Has opened the mane of rage to its rider
–  Seeking for its lost will –
Asks about the flurry of hot scenes
Burns with sarcasm of shame’s suns

Nothing is left however for the rider with a broken heart
No quiver and no fatigues, the sword has died…
The dagger is broken in the body of a wall
The mighty will of the desert man has turned dull
The white wild horse! Don’t let me down so!
Draw on me no bloody dagger of your eyes
Set no fire on the root of my dark rage
Let the wolf of my hungry conceit
Sleep in its red dream
The white wild horse
The enemy has drawn his poisonous dagger of sneer
‘s hidden animosity to a peace treaty
‘s infected poison with sweet kisses of affection
Drawn a bow to the arrows of coins
The white wild horse!
I shall turn aggressive with which will
I shall fight with which man in the battleground
I shall hang shield toward which sword as a canopy 
I should parade you in which ground

The white wild horse!
The sword has died…
The trench of iron saddles has been emptied.
A friend he who squeezes my hand with affection
He who has a snake of deception hidden in sleeves

The white wild horse!
Flower of scarlet cups has blossomed in castles
Flower of silver coins has blossomed on paws
Steel of hearts has begun to rust
‘s wrapped the amulet of terror around man’s arm

The white wild horse!
What are you seeking in my eyes’ grove?
No dust is there, a flower has grown in a mirage
No panther is there, a woman has lain in nature
No paddock is there, a grief has shut the way of slumber

The white wild horse!
Blades those fruit scorching hot heart –
Shall never sprout, from my sleeves
Girls those with bodies, like does
You shall never see, on my saddles 

The white wild horse!
Be delighted with wet pasture of yours
Neigh, with memories of a blond 
And detached mane mare, don’t writhe in anguish
The white wild horse!
Let me stuff my mind with the vapor of whims
In the barn of my own cold thinking
No power remains to throw you off in the mountain
No chest remains to let out a roar 
The white wild horse!
Be delighted with the wet pasture of yours.
The white wild horse, shed mane
Contemplating the castle of scorched moonlight
Hungry sparrows have flown
From around its stall.
Remembrance of its loosened bridles
‘s driven through the scorched castles.


A word of warning

You too will come
-O! Still, wavering fish of the river of blood!
And you will see the gardens of the world
Behind the tall walls of the world,
The seas of the world
The ones on board the ship and the shipwrecks of the world
And the ones thirsting for the coast of the sea,
You will see
A word of warning! – oh! The unborn!  –
                                                 Not to pick up on the apple
                                                              From the gardens of the world!
Let not bouncing fish like rainbow
Entrap your eyes!
A word of warning!
Because, like us, you too will see
–   Through a crack –
You ought to be gladdened by one look
And by a half-empty carafe of sea.


To Dear Departed Mohammad Mokhtari
Mohammad Biabani
Yearning for the pulverized dead
Laid upon this cadaver
Shrouded night uncovers by day
If the wind is pelting overmuch
The typhoon might have lost its balance
By day when even night
Does not sojourn with old graves
Dawn sounds a bit far-fetched
When the wind is not the flogging
By now overmuch is my back aching 
I’d rather go past the earth pleasingly
A hand separates me from your coming – 
Affirming its swordsmanship
An eye
is drawing my heaven on earth
with the people’s bone on riverbanks resided
This shroud 
is scorching hot and in the mirage is marked
The smoke blowing over virtue and morals 
Parched light is overmuch dark
It must have turned barren
The ear torn by the sound of dawn

A coffin
Has made you disparate overmuch,
Who exclaimed the essence of dawn is light? 
Has it always been that the graveyard 
Debarred drinking the thirsty eyes up?
This acquainted scent
Even strains the membrane of wolf of desert
Someone must have gone past hither
My hands cannot reach into dim words of street
My eyes cannot … over-the-wall tears
There where he is passing through
I too must have passed
I behold
The homeland does not rejoin!
Some eyes are peeping through the window
With a verse melting you in dribs and drabs
Day has remained untold so that 
A leaf too will ruin in the catacombs
You see the sun
Is gently caressing half of your bones
One day I was a falcon on your shoulder
But now be the wing of my helplessness
The rat of the millennium 
must now have chewed up 
Human feeling
It too may have sprouted
The snow melting within your throat

The world never thinks of a bloom
To be in the shape of you
This dark spider e’er weaving its own tangle
Even passing through snow
Shrieks the darkness of your world
The woman who has leant on here
Is freezing cold and machine guns are busy
With cutting out love’s patience furthermore
That day overmuch is my back aching 
This hand is vaporizing and the sea
Is yet flowing into gutter of twilight
Not having you the world seems overmuch weird 
This mat each time eaten by termites 
 Slit opened to a body and anew
A Human being decays within a skull
Just as a lie is the only mouthpiece
It is freezing cold and this cloud is dispersing 
The pulverized dead.


About the Authors

Manouchehr Atashi was born on September 25, 1933 in a village called Dehroud in Dashtestan, a county on the coast of Persian Gulf in the southern region in Iran. He graduated from Tehran University of Higher Education (1964) with a bachelor’s degree in English. He worked as a teacher in Bushehr and its suburb for many years before moving to Tehran. After closing his career in teaching, he worked as an editor in broadcast media. Inspired by Nima Yushij, he used many native elements of Southern Iran in his poetry. He drew characteristics from nature, such as the sea and the warm land of palm trees and imbued them in his poetry that combines tribal life with sincere experience. He debuted as a poet in Iran in 1960 with his poetry collection Āhang-e digar (Another Melody). Atashi’s other books include Āvāz-e ḵāk (The Song of the Earth) (1967), Didār dar Falaq (Meeting at Dawn) (1969) amongst others. Atashi died in Sina Hospital in Tehran due to a sudden cardiac arrest after kidney surgery. He was entombed in Bushehr in 2005. 

Mohammad Biabani was a Persian poet born in a town near Bushehr on May 28, 1945. His poems focused mostly on social and political issues. He was known for his love of folk literature and integrating popular beliefs and ideals into his interpretations of them in his work. He also was known for his non-fiction works such as The Pathology of Art, Novel from Emergence to Creation, and literary criticism of contemporary poetry. Biabani, however, was reluctant to publish his own poems for some time. In 1990, he finally released his first collection of verse entitled The Epic Tale of Golbanoo Tree. He died in Bushehr from lung cancer on March 13, 2003. 

About the Translator

Marjan Modarres Sabzevari, born in Yazd, is a literary translator, and her poetry translations can be found online and in print. Previously, she worked as a director at an English theater in Bushehr, Iran and conducted performances of Hamlet’s Dream and Jane Eyre. She has a master’s degree in English language and literature and a bachelor’s degree in English translation. 

Photo Courtesy of Marjan Modarres Sabzevari.

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