by Reza Mohammadi

If it rains
my friends will be stuck at home
wearing the shoes of the dead.
The gates to the city are sealed.
Pillar by pillar
its relics
break in their mouth.
We have hidden our dead
in the cellar
until the day of vengeance.
They are buried
under boxes of gunpowder
and ancestral rage. 

If it rains
the day of vengeance
will be postponed once again.
Rain is a crime.
Rain ruins dreams.
If it rains
the rain will purge my blood
from the streets.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Moheb Mudessir

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire


Reza, Moheb and I worked on this poem together. These are some of the changes I made to the literal version.

In the first stanza, I added the verb 'wearing' because English works better with verbs rather than the bald abstraction. In 'the gates to the city', I changed the tense to the present - 'are sealed' - for reasons of immediacy. I also went for 'pillar' rather than 'column' because I like the sound better in this context. I changed 'obsolescence', an abstract noun, to 'relics' which are tangible.

In the final stanza, I used the verb 'purge', rather than wash or clean, because it has the sense of a ritual cleansing.

Sarah Maguire


No comments have been made on this poem yet! Why don’t you start us off?