Lucky Men

by Partaw Naderi

When your star is unseen in this desolate sky,
your despair itself becomes a star.

My twin, the steadfast sun, and I
both grasp its far-flung brilliance.

* * * *

In a land where water is locked up
in the very depths of desiccated rocks,
the trees are ashamed of their wizened fruits.

The honest orchard is laid waste —
such a bloodied carpet
is spread before the future.

* * * *

Yesterday, leaning on my cane,
I returned from the trees' cremation.

Today, I search the ashes
for my lost, homeless phoenix.

Perhaps it was you who shadowed me,
perhaps it was only my shadow.

Even though the lucky men in my land
lack stars in the heavens, lack shadows on the earth

they welcome any stars
that grace their devastated sky.

O, my friend, my only friend,
turn your anguish into constellations!

The literal translation of this poem was made by Yama Yari

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire

Notes

Peshawar City
November, 2002

Translated by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari.

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