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The Winter Homily - Poem by Nader Naderpour Los Angeles, January 1993. Translated By Farhad Mafie December 2000. From the collection Earth and Time (Zamin va Zamān).

An epic of the Alborz Mountains and its summit, Damavand

O, the fire that flames from inside the night!
rises to dance,
but turns to stone by morning!
O, the memory of the earth’s seething anger
in the days when the sky’s rage was spreading.

O, the sense of pride!
O, the point where epics begin and end!
O, the magnificent summit of old epics!
O, the house of Ghobad !
O, the stony nest, the destiny of the phoenix!
O, the land of Zal the Champion’s childhood!

O, the astonishing summit!
O, the anonymous grave of the unfortunate Jamshid!
O, the cliff of anguish of Zahhak the Black-Hearted!
O, summit! O, valiant champion![1] O, combatant of old!
O, he who was thrown into his brother’s well!
But the king’s crown
at the moment of the fall
was saved for the world from the well’s narrow pass.[2]

O, the white summit on the horizon of childhood!
So like a whitened sugar cone on blue paper.
O, the summit new in appearance to the poet’s imagination!
Like a gigantic stone that lasts forever!

I am, on a night when even the crickets are sleeping,
the loneliest voice in the world,
never reaching anyone else, from any direction.
I am, in the frozen silence of this dark night,
the loneliest voice and the loneliest person,
lonelier than God
working on the numinous creation of the world,
lonelier than the stars’ praying sound
along the hands of speechless trees,
lonelier than the breeze’s morning anthem
in the city of sleepers.

You, O, far summit!
In the beginning of the upcoming spring,
will the loneliest voice in the world
be allowed to echo in your quietness?
Will my lost voice, panting,
be able to find a path to your height?
Will your cold mouth, by my warm tune,
be able to erupt again?
Ah, O, the tranquil and the virtuous!
O, the dour wintry face!
O, the angry lion!
Will I, from the small door of this strange exile,
again see the rising of the sun
from your summit peak?
Will I be able to see you again?

  • 1Translator: A reference to Rostan, the “champion” in Shahnameh.
  • 2Translator: In Shahnameh Rostan goes to Mazandaran and saves King Kavos from the well and thus saves the kingdom.