The corn poppies came first,
then the locusts
and after that the unravelling wind.
That was how childhood looked to you
before the dark water, before the thorns,
before the mountain range of a thousand mosques
cast shadow over those wild flowers.
First the poppies went
then the royal rooms grew shabby,
the photos of Oppenheimer, Lumumba,
the red furniture - everything went to the second hand shop.
Joyous accordions and flags of mourning,
Turks and Kurds,
little blue patterned headscarves -
all passed us by in the street.
‘By Appointment to...' the Princes, my mother's brothers,
was stamped on every cup and shisha,
my mother, first in line for Friday prayer, kept her back to me,
my brother joined the Bassij.
First the locusts come, then the poppies
first the poppies went
then the locusts...
The hollow of the eye fills with snow,
the valleys of winter are white,
then come the thorns and the dark waters.....
The literal translation of this poem was made by Elhum Shakerifar
The final translated version of the poem is by Maura Dooley
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2015