(Photo: Masoud)


Pouran Farokh-zad

Iranian Poet, Novelist & Researcher
Holding B.S. degree in English literature, Pouran Farokh-zad, poet, novelist and researcher started her works at 16 by writing stories and translating books, focusing mostly on women. She worked for 12 years in IRIB as program manager and writer and has so far written about 50 short stories. Her books of poems include the The Agitated Lyre, Happiness Lies in the Eating of Apples, The Illusions of Crimson Anemone or An Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Poetesses, which recently received a second edition.

Her largest undertaking is the Encyclopedia of Women Culture Makers in Iran and in the World from Inscription to History which gives biographies of Iranian and foreign progressive and culture-making women in the world, and The Eternal Women, a far bigger anthology of female poets in which she has enlisted many classic poems, Nimaic poems and free verse.

The Agitated Lyre: Translated by Manavaz Alexandrian
Once in the acacia garden I was lost,
And with the music of spring was encompassed;
When the Saqi of memory played for me,
Imbued with wine in the wine jar I was cast.

Yesterday I and love slept with wine deranged 
And many untold stories we exchanged;
When dewy morning broke and the sun rose, 
Like the ivy together we blossomed and ranged. 

From the mountain the white phoenix has fled,
Neither Alborz beholds Zal's silvery head;
Rostam has slept in the history's page,
Of all these nothing but a fable has spread.

When the captive parrot begins to wail, 
In green jungle her spirit does sail;
Would to God she had a swift wing
To start a new life away from the cell.

Love like Zal came and took me to the mountain
And threw me at phoenix' majestic den;
When the hoary sage disclosed the secret,
I grew another phoenix in the doleful plain.

This wind that blows from the violet garden,
Rises from the heart of the lofty mountain; 
When the loving lyre touches the soul's vein,
The music gushes from the spring's fountain.

At evenings I and death hold debate
And make a lot of noise in the narrow bed;
Silent death sleeps in me and I awake,
In our dream each dwell in a separate state. 

One evening in imagination me and my love
Drunk in sweet embrace slept in the alcove;
When our dream was broken and we rose,
We closed our wings like the tired dove.

When your sweet memory bloomed on dream's bough,
An acacia garden with golden root did grow;
I entered the grove drunk with the wine of youth,
Kindled by love music from the thicket did ensue.

Feasting with pleasing hope you drank and revealed,
Like the moaning lyre resonant you wailed;
I was grapes but in the tavern of your love
Like the wine you made me boil and I rebelled. 

When the wind kisses me with its sweet caress
It seems to entice me into its embrace;
Then in my heart's ear I hear a strange whisper;
Does the wind know my name within this place?

Within the grip of wind I'm a wailing lute,
From every atom of my body a song does shoot;
Each wound bewails of another wound,
Each groan with another groan is endued.

In the endless sleep of death you lost your sense
In the silent grave you grew cold and tense:
But my heart is filled with your sweet memory,
O how sweetly you have mated me? How intense?

I'm a wandering constellation in the space,
I'm an eager researcher amazed in this race; 
In the hub of the constellation like an old phoenix
I seek a new birth in the blazing furnace.

I was asleep when love visited me;
I smelled my love's scent from the apple tree;
Night expired and when morning dawned
The light from my eyes into my soul did flee.

Like the fish in water I plunged into passion,
From one wave to another I swam by the motion;
Then from inside fermentation I twined with love
And grew a water lily in the marshy ocean.

Today for wind and rain I'm yearning,
A cloud of tear from my eye is hanging; 
Like a dull Friday afternoon I am sad;
I'm depressed, for a shower I'm burning.

O love you are the soul of song and poetry,
And nocturnal music of mystics revelry;
Play for me and inflame me with your lays;
O love you are the origin of mystery.

Among the silent oriental women I live,
A convent where in silence I rage and heave;
Like the wingless bird cooped in the cage,
I have a lot to say, but in silence I grieve.

O sweet sparrow, your song is fresh and green,
Your well-known message points to the verdant scene; 
O sweet harbinger of the sprightly spring,
Sing, for your lays are young and for ever green.

O love letís about new subjects converse,
Letís open this old book of verse;
A new man is displaying his face;
O love let us new topics quote and rehearse.

Moved by the moaning tiger the moon fell,
On the cold white capped mountain it did dwell;
By love's incense the moon shut her breast;
The wind blew and heavy snow filled the dale.

With a farewell I left my body, I fled,
Like the shirt which you pull off your head;
One day the hoary sage told me in secret:
"Leave your cocoon, and fly you are a butterfly, mate."

Like the vernal cloud, weeping, weeping,
In the heart of mystery, dipping, dipping;
With love we move, seeking, seeking;
From ardor our breasts burnt, leaping, leaping.

A field of violet and a grove of rose,
Each wave is an anemone and a sea of rose;
As if all my life has blossomed;
I dream of spring and the garden of rose;

On love's lap I laid my head and in silence,
In the soul's inn my heart beat agitated and tense;
Then drunk with love and with a beating heart
Within the bosom of love I lost all my sense.

From your court the breeze of kindness descends,
From the heart of time your good message extends;
May your day remain auspicious, O glorious sun!
From friend to friend we expect goodly presents.

The path to the coaxing heart must shine with light,
In shining cup we must fill the wine tonight;
With love's torch the hearth of desire should be lit;
Let us kindle the sun and make the garden bright.

Naught but a sigh has remained of that which fled,
From white, blue, gray, yellow, black or red;
Now that in the autumnal garden I perch,
A caravan of recollection rushes to my head.

O friend! I seek thee in the mirror,
I pour out your secret in its ear;
When the moonlight on the mirror falls,
From your love's root we grew into flower.

Man climbed to the moon and returned to his berth,
But stranger to his kind she returned to earth;
From the rage of rancor our brothers burn,
The music of the discordant lyre is pervert.

What clouds and storm tonight darkens the spheres?
The sky is pregnant with bulging tears;
From the heart of the lightening fire blazes,
As if the base of love is laid on ruin and cares.

When the bewitching eyes at my soul pierced,
A thousand violets grew in my heaving chest;
Then I budded and bloomed from foot to the head,
And my tongue with a garden of violet was blessed.

Alas our life was a dream that fled
Like raining love it rained, dried and fled:
We couldn't see nor hear, stranded in void,
It was a false image in the mirage that fled.

The garden has yellowed by killing breath of fall,
Apart the warm sun it suffers from pain and gall;
The root of love by the death's sting was hit,
It is long since the heart is frozen and stale.

When love showered, the house was drenched with flood,
The storm subsided and the sky was nude; 
We woke from our thousand years of sleep;
Our hearts were opened and our souls glowed.

The minstrel of wind drunk with love and fire,
Mounted the dancing waves impatient with desire;
When she spoke of love, parting and unity,
The waves murmured the music of rebeck and lyre. 

O street of recollections; forgotten, lost,
Wrapped many events and forgotten in the blast;
I am crossing your province, again I cross,
Wailing, shrieking and sunk in my dismal past.

Sweet thoughts of March blooms in green clothes,
Reeking, moving, filling in well watered pots;
The lovelorn branches at the threshold of love
Hoping to blossom sleep cheerfully in cots.

Siavosh's boiling blood gushes from the soil,
It is a pot which from blazing rancor does boil;
That root which from the seed of wrath grows
Has long shaken the earth with strife and toil.

The green thought of spring flowed to the root,
The message of spring arrived at the wood,
The desponding jungle couched in the icy bed
Drunk with the scent of spring shook its root.

The verdant field with smiling flowers is crowned,
Along with the breeze morning lights the ground;
In the garden all warblers of mead and rose
Join the music of my poems and the sound.

From the edge of horizon the music I hear 
Which ebbs and flows in the lovers' sphere; 
Amazed the minstrel has laid her lyre aside;
From the lyre the sound of friendship I hear.

The orange has blossomed in the vernal grove,
From love the garden has blossomed, from love;
Excited the fair moon has bared her breast;
From temptation tired she circles the grove. 

O wind of spring, you smell of balmy rain,
You smell of the violets of the plain;
I'm the agitated lyre, a drunken lyre are you,
You echo the melody of the vernal season.

O love's alley, my existence is from you,
The key to my hidden secrets is in you;
Like the snake I have twisted around me,
My gladness and sorrow is from you.

The bird will depart from this darksome depth,
The angry autumn will leave our earth;
This blackened dinner will be consumed,
The sun will arise and will bring mirth. 

Like the surfer swimming on dancing waves,
Twisting in my labyrinth with the boiling waves,
Never my riotous existence had peace,
For a lifetime I was twisted with the waves.

Yesterday for love's sake a shower fell,
The thunder raged and storm filled the dale;
The lightening blazed in the sky for a while,
Then on the soft bed of love it did dwell.

Like the old piper with a silent note 
Many secrets in inspiring words I quote;
Each word has a secret message in my verse; 
O breast scream mightily through my throat.

O cloud you are pregnant with rain,
You bear the weight and awe of the mountain;
Like the captive caged bulbul my song is choked,
You hold the green talisman of the garden.

The garden of flowers, the linnet and the mead,
Beneath the soil in a tiny seed is hid;
Behold, the world is concealed in a grain,
Each seed is a world itself, a world indeed.

Beware! These are passing hours that we chase,
On the chariot of time, folk change their face;
I know that another Messiah will arrive;
It is a long time we expect his ingress.

Let my song mix with the whispering breeze,
And bury my heart within the leafy trees; 
When the vernal rain descends on earth,
Remember me wherever a flower thou sees.

Grieving for stars, I mourned, yearning,
Like the fermenting wine I boiled churning;
The waves of sadness arrived and encircled me,
From the wine cup I drank the blood of mourning.

On the frozen turf the winter flower grew,
Drunk with wine and eager it blossomed with dew;
By love's magic many things sprung from naught;
From the heart of the jar a thousand stories grew.

O windows of peace open, O open!
Join the pleasant music choir of the sun;
The piercing sun broke the dark night,
Arise, wear your wings and soar the heaven.
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