Children and the Sun
‘Children and the Sun’ was the poem we spent most of our time on. The ambiguous language and surrealistic images took us some time to agree on the exact references. As common in many other poems by Ziayi, the old straw chairs are capable of walking, spilling memories and sitting on the pavement. Having escaped the darkness of the house, they undergo a revival and rejuvenation in presence of children and the sun out on the pavement; a beacon of hope in the dark and dull world of worn out objects.
The poet has made very good use of assonance and internal rhyme in the original Persian. We tried to recreate as far as possible but part of the musicality was lost as in any poetry translation attempt.
Alireza Abiz - Litteral Translator
Last time the translation group worked on a poem by Iraj Ziayi, known in Iran as the ‘Poet of Objects’, it was one about six Polish chairs. This poem’s title might lead us to assume the ‘they’ of the first line is children – there is something disturbing about the arrival; the invasion of space. But as we read further we realise that this is also a poem about chairs – straw ones left out in the street. Again, objects are given a sinister life of their own, personified and sitting, creeping around in the night, spilling memories, abandoning their owners.
The second line is one we spent a particular amount of time on – it originally read ‘how did they pass the darkness of the house, stairs, corridor?’ and there was much debate as to whether the chairs passed by or through these things. We decided it was probably through, and that ‘cross’ would add a sense of risk to the movement whilst keeping the sound. Alireza Abiz also explained that the corridors could be covered passages outside, as well as internal, so we used passage (which keeps the ‘pass’ sound.) The line is now hissing with s-es; a whispered softness.