One: Esfandyar’s Eye

A curtain of white smoke
Blocks your eyes bit by bit
And there is no way out
But swallowing the foam of your rage
Which bubbles from every wave of your being.

Oh woe, oh woe, oh woe
How long do you lick your leprous wound
You foaming camel?
You are neither Rudaki, to play it out with a harp1
Nor Abul Ala, to spit it out through satire.2
Hence, you must burn
On this brazier without Esfand’s seeds3
And lament your Esfandyar’s eye forever.4

January 16, 1986

1- Rudaki: A blind Persian bard (858-941)
2- Abul Ala alMo’arri: A blind Arab, skeptic poet (973-1058)
3-Traditionally in Iran, the seeds of wild rue (esfand) are burnt on a brazier to ward off the evil eye.
4- In Iranian mythology,  Esfandyar’s eye is similar to the Greek Achilles’ heel. He is blessed with invulnerability because he carries holy wars for the prophet Zoroaster. Nevertheless, Rostam, the Iranian Hercules, kills Esfandyar by shooting a tamarisk-tree arrow into his eye.

Two: Blurry Eyes

I take this dirt as a garden
With dense trees and shady bushes,
And this day, full of fog and smoke
As a quiet, sunny afternoon,
And this monotonous sound of power lines
As a lonely chirping cricket
Which I have always cherished
Since childhood

Ah, my blurry eyes
How much I owe you!

July 27, 1992

Three: Dark Eyes

There is a cloud in my sky
Sitting always on its tiptoe
With bushy hair and dark eyes.

For the first time
I saw it at age six.
Someone said: «Turn on the light»
But I could not find the Switch
And hid myself behind the blind.

Ah, you dark cloud!
I want to stick out my tongue
And let you pour into my mouth.
I want to lie down on your cushion
And sail to the four corners of the world.

January 2, 1994

Four: Right of Way

I have the right of way
With my white cane
Which, like Moses’ rod,
Is a path-opener.

At the intersection of San Vicente
The surge of cars stops
And gives me the right of way.
I proudly tap my cane
And after fifteen years of denial
Finally pass the Red Sea
And step onto my Canaan.

August 26, 2016

Majid Naficy