We Are Reborn

by Reza Mohammadi

In the colourful streaks of water-lilies
we are reborn
In the dun streaks of the cobra
we are reborn
From the foaming mouth of a horse
ridden by a chapandaz*
in pursuit of 
a headless goat
we are reborn
With cartilage and bones and joints
we are reborn
With the visions of butterflies who came before us
with the dreams of doves who sleep on turquoise domes
we are reborn
To rediscover the leaves on the trees
and the taste of grapes
and the scent of vines
and the familiar colour of the pomegranate
and iron and stone
we are reborn
to reinvent the cruelty of iron and the brilliance of stone
Grasshoppers queue
to hear the sound of a distant drum
Ants form a line
to hear our cries
After us kohl is born
and the hoopoe
and the tree and the dandelion
In the order we are born
we enter the streets
to follow the clocks of the dandelions
that tell the candles' life
We are reborn
one in India, one in the wasteland of Hijaz, both in search of
the one born down a well in Isfahan
In the beginning
we learn the name of the wind
the name of the rain
In the beginning
we learn the names of spring and winter
and we rummage through everything
until we find death

* A chapandaz is a particularly skillful player of the Afghan game, Buzkashi, in which the body of a goat is pursued by men on horseback. See Buzkashi on Wikipedia

The literal translation of this poem was made by Moheb Mudessir

The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Notes

As with 'Spring', we were very fortunate to have Reza Mohammadi with us for this workshop on his poems.

Only a few lines into this poem we came up against references to the remarkable game of Buzkashi, the Afghan national game (see the footnote, above). The 'turquoise domes' that the doves sleep on refer to the gorgeous Timurid mosques with their distinctive domes, such as the stunning 'Blue Mosque' in Mazar-e-Sharif and those in other Afghan cities. Another Afghan reference is to 'kohl', the eye make-up but which, in Afghan culture has deadly connotations as well as being about beauty.

As in English culture, dandelion 'clocks' (as the name might suggest) are reputed to tell the time, just as a marked-off candle does.

The characters referred to as being born in India, Hijaz and Isfahan, are Adam, Eve and Satan.

Other than picking our way through those very specific cultural references, we found this poem easier than 'Spring'. But equally beautiful.

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