Poet Andrew McMillan Discovers Joy & Beauty

By: Andrew McMillan

Scrolling through the new website, I want to find something unexpected, something by someone I haven’t encountered yet; there’s such a depth of content that isn’t a hard mission to accomplish. I alight, rather quickly, on a recording of a poem ‘Beauty’, by Partaw Naderi (translated from Dari by Yama Yari and Sarah Maquire).

‘Your voice is like a girl from the farthest green village’ it begins; its an eloquent poem of exquisite beauty, read first in the English and then in the lilting, arresting Dari. ‘And you are as beautiful as your voice’ the poem ends; in a world such as this one, we are reminded of poetry’s main functions, to distill, to offer clarity, to crystallise the inherent beauty in the everyday and offer it back to the reader. Naderi is doing just that in this poem.

We also get to hear from Naderi himself; ‘When the poem starts I have no idea where it might take me and where it might end. Once it is written and completed, I am overwhelmed by indescribable joy’

How wonderful to hear a poet talk of joy; I think all poets could use a little more joy, and certainly our readers too. There is a story too, of when Naderi first published the poem, about a dedication he was too scared to make. I won’t spoil that by paraphrasing it here, but its a reminder to us all in our comfort and privileged lives in England (maybe I’m speaking to myself here), of the inherent risks that poets take across the world to bear witness and to tell the truth.

It’s a simple recording (though the translation process cannot have been simple, so well is the language captured) of a remarkable poem, not always happy but important; I order you all to go and listen to it and try to think yourself back into that joy that Naderi felt upon first writing it.

Read ‘Beauty’ by Partaw Naderi

Listen to ‘Beauty’ by Partaw Naderi

Read the story behind the poem.