In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
from A child's Garden Verses- 1885
in a marvelous dream,
it will extend to the direction of the words.
Wind will say something.
An apple will fall,
will roll over the attributes of the ground
will go until the presence of night’s absent homeland
The roof of an illusion will collapse.
will see the vegetal melancholic intelligence.
An ivy will climb up the sight of God
Mystery, will overflow.
Root of the period’s asceticism will decay.
In the way of darkness
the edge of the water’s converse
The inner part of the mirror will grasp.
the stem of the sense
will shake by the blow of Friend,
Consternation will shed.
At the bottom of night, an insect
the fresh portion of loneliness.
Inside the Morning word
Daybreak, will come.
Sepehri, sohrab (1928 - 1980)
Translated from Persian by Nasrin Yavari
Two small pond fish
attend the antique feast
welcomed first by the old man in the center
then men and women in each corner
Bowl room is filled with clear water
the two fish play in its bright colors;
from red, blue to green and golden
then, come to stand still, right and sudden!
Watching the fish
whispering our wish
cannon now fired
Spring is announced
“Hundred years better than these years”
two, three, four kisses!
“with our best wishes”
old ladies taste musk willow ‘Noghl’* in shining dishes
A freshly picked white Jasmine flower,
Oh what a wonderful scent! I remember…
Summer afternoon and garden
freshly sprinkled geraniums border
up on wetted steps,
the white Jasmine pot on the deck
On a red Turkoman* rug spread
familiar round metal tray,
a glass of tea and cubes of sugar,
the daily newspaper, the magnifier,
and Oshno** of my grandmother
On the high table all is set
Big samovar, still singing!
Fifty years following,
Delicate Jasmine flower…
* a type of antique hand knotted Persian rug
** name of brand for tiny cigarettes in white flat box
For this small white porcelain vase,
a gift from my beloved mother
I pick each time from the garden
a bunch of tiny Alyssums,
early shoots of Cypress
blue and purple Petunia flowers…
or just a few leaves of Laurel
Pansy of different colors…
Zinnia, Marigold, Phlox
Geranium, Salvia, Lavender…
Roses with a tinge of color
late in November
Crush not yon ant, who stores the golden grain
He lives with pleasure, and will die with pain.
Learn from him rather to secure the spoil
Of patient cares and persevering toil.
SA’DI Shirazi (1200- 1291)
Verse translation from Persian by:
Sir William Jones (1746 –1794)
Reality and Appearance
‘Tis light makes colour visible: at night
Red, green, and russet vanish from thy sight.
So to thee light by darkness is made known:
All hid things by their contraries are shown.
Since God hath none, He seeing all, denies
Himself eternally to mortal eyes.
From the dark jungle as a tiger bright,
Form from the viewless Spirit leaps to light.
When waves of thought from Wisdom’s Sea profound
Arose, they clad themselves in speech and sound.
The lovely forms a fleeting sparkle gave,
Then fell and mingled with falling wave.
So perish all things fair, to readorn
The Beauteous One whence all fair things were born.
RUMI, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad (1207 –1273)
Verse translation from Persian by :
R.A.Nicholson (1868 –1945)
The Miracle of Spring
Recall how with frozen fingers December’s clouds outspread
Over the fields and uplands a mantle of ice and snow;
Over the buried roses, over a world of dead
Vengeful as any hangman stalked the exultant crow.
But lo, the abiding wonder! Spirit, that never dies,
Surges anew and vital through the upstanding trees.
See, those spear-armed horsemen, the spreading tulips, rise
Over the plains triumphant, hills, yea, and mountains seize.
Behold, the eager lily leaps to delight the eye,
Spurning the bent narcissus crouched in his self-regard.
Deep in the springing corn-shoots the gleaming violets lie;
Bright with a myriad jewels the wheat-swept fields are starred.
Under the nodding willow the poppy lies in blood-
Sudden the blow that smote her, drenched her crimson flood.
And now, mid the green profusion of wheat, in mingled hue
Note how the lily argent with azure glows;
So, when the sky is stippled with scattered rain-clouds through
Here and here betwixt them the vault of heaven shows.
BAHAR (1884 -1951)
Verse Translation : A.J.Arberry (1905 -1969)
The night of good loneliness
Listen! The farthest bird of the world sings.
Night is fluent, consistent and open.
and the most sonorous branch of the season hear the Moon.
The front stairs of the building,
In the lantern at hand
and in the profuse light wind,
Listen, the road is calling from afar to your steps,
your eye is not the ornament of darkness.
Shake eyelids, wear shoes, and come.
and come to where, the feather of the Moon hints to your finger
and Time sits down on a chunk of clay with you
and the bible of night absorbs your body to itself, like a song lyrics.
A pious man would be there to tell you:
The best thing is arriving to a look, wet from the accident of love.
Sohrab Sepehri (1928 - 1980)
Translated from Persian by Nasrin Yavari