Literature of Iran

Mohammad Ali Sepanlu

Poet and Translator
by: Manavaz Alexandrian

Mohammad Ali Sepanlu (1940)

It would be more fitting to call Sepanlu the poet of Tehran, since he completed his academic education with a degree in law in Tehran and he has lived all his life there translating, editing and writing poetry. Sepanlu has an independent language, which can be known without reading his name on the cover. His concentration on time is a leading element in the majority of his poems.

Earth, The Deluges, The Pavements, The Absent Sindbad, Incursion, I Take My Country's Pulse, The Lady of the Age and The Hour of Hope

I Sing at Thirty Six, Translated to English by M. Alexandrian
West of the soft autumn wing,
I stop and greet the evening;
Is the inside freedom of this passing day
So lasting that it can render fruit tomorrow?
Here at the time of sleep in the limbo
It is only me who am drunk, alert,
And I am 36 years old.

Although like trees
I am not fully matured,
And with my leaves and fruit I do not balance,
At the beginning of this year
A realm 30 centuries old,
Is a name in the air
Which engraves by iron tool
On the rocks of our remembrance:
The image of a gray old man,
The ash of his hearth,
A plough, a melody, an extinguished pipe.

Autumn, my solitary season!
Autumn, dead light of distant chandeliers,
Autumn, the burnt fallen eye-lids,
On the path of stars,
The autumn of the dead and young dead people,
In the earring's tower,
The autumn of captains,
The race of black vested opaque Quran readers,
Embarked on everlasting ship of pine,
Till the light of harbors,
Combines with the saffron west,
And the tally officers
Pass, mounted on a cloud.
March more slowly,
Under your feet
The rain of frozen tears of daytime
Is the prism of crystalline marks and in it
The sparkling eye of man is awake,
Not with the helmet of the lost riders,
Neither on account of rider less whips
By seeing the pair of asteroids,
Can one recognize the rotation of the mirror 
- The edicts of knighthood - the heritage of museums -
And the kings of Qalian pitchers,
And the tattoo on a sinking ship
On your heart's shore,
Never the orb of death
Can be lighted 
With such calculations.
Only at the last moment of the whirlpool,
A light surviving from quicksilver
From the last star,
Will fall over the ramp of the spaceship.
After that, there is nothing,
It is all silence...

Only the tired sound of Gabriel of waters,
The only sound that breaks in the penetration of the mist
These 36 stars which blossomed in shades,
Are early dying flowers of another winter.


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