My Country, I Will Build You Again

(To the lady of Persian storytelling, Simin Daneshvar)

My country, I will build you again,

if need be, with bricks made from my life.

I will build columns to support your roof,

if need be, with my bones.

I will inhale again the perfume of flowers

favored by your youth.

I will wash again the blood off your body

with torrents of my tears.

Once more, the darkness will leave this house.

I will paint my poems blue with the color of our sky.

The resurrector of “old bones” will grant me in his bounty

a mountain’s splendor in his testing grounds.

Old I may be, but given the chance, I will learn.

I will begin a second youth alongside my progeny.

I will recite the Hadith of “love and country”

with such fervor as to make each word bear life.

There still burns a fire in my breast

to keep undiminished the warmth of kinship

I feel for my people.

Once more you will grant me strength,

though my poems have settled in blood.

Once more I will build you with my life,

though it be beyond my means.

Bibliographical info

Translated by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa. From A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems. Published 1999 by Syracuse University Press.

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