Once Upon a Time

In memory of Leila Serahat Roshani[1]

Granny used to say
keep your sack
inside your ribcage.[2]
Don't say the sun's old and faded
Don't say it's gone astray
Say I'm coming back.
May the White Demon
protect you and watch over you.
Daughter of the dawn!
Maybe if things aren't working out
it's because of you,
because the fairytale
has got stuck in the mud.
Take the comb
out of the sack,
throw it
in the path of your foe
so that seven jungles
will grow in front of his feet.
Don't say heaven is far,
and the earth is hard
If you're afraid
of the sea and its nymphs
don't throw
the mirror.
Don't say it was
Don't say it wasn't
Entrust it to the god of the fairytales,
may he rest Granny's soul.

Give the mirror
to Golnar's mother
who dreams of birds and fishes
at the foot of the burned out vineyards.
Don't say the sun shines on the rooftop
too briefly.
Say I'm coming
and this time,
put away the heart of
your disinterested love.
Shake the sack and,
in the name of the White Demon,
burn that
strand of hair.
Wasn't it?
[Once upon a time] there was, [once upon a time] there wasn't,
there was a girl
in whose long and constant dreams
a white-haired woman
always chanted these prayers:
"The Shomali Plain is still
full of melodies
and through the ceilings of its ruined houses
light pours in."

Share this poem

view comments

Comments (1)

Farzana Marie

Mashallah—this is a marvelous poem.
Zenda boshi Shakila jan and keep writing please!

Leave a comment