The Bloody Epitaph

by Partaw Naderi

This palm tree has no hope of spring
This palm tree blossoms
with a hundred wounds
            - the daily wounds of a thousand tragedies
            - the nightly wounds of a thousand calamities
This palm tree is a bloody epitaph
at the crossroads of the century

                        *

Here, by the river,
•-    a river of blood and tears -
the roots of this palm tree
are congealed with disaster
are knotted with the blind roots of time

                        *

Here, the sky
unwinds its bloody cloth
from barren red clouds
to shroud the shattered lid of a coffin
•-    a broken mirror of rain
This palm tree has no hope of spring

                        *

This palm tree has no hope of spring
This palm tree is starred
with a hundred bruises
         from the whip of the north wind
My palm!
         My only tree!
                   My spring!
Many years have passed
since the bird of blossoms
flew away from your desiccated branches 

Butterflies abandon you
My heart is broken


Kabul

November, 1989

The literal translation of this poem was made by Yama Yari

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire

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