[Dar in bunbast]

They smell your mouth.
May you not have said “I love you.”
They smell your heart.
          These are weird times, my love.
And at the roadblock
they pull Love out
for a whipping.
          Hide love in the locked closet.

In this alley of crooked and twisted cold
they stoke their fire
with songs and poems.
Don’t risk thinking.
          Weird times, my love.
He who knocks on the door in the night
has come to murder Light.
          Hide light in the locked closet.

Behold the butchers
firmly planted
in the passageway
with their blood-stained chopping block and cleavers.
          Weird times, my love.
They surgically add smiles to lips
and cut songs
from the mouth.
          Hide joy in the locked closet.

Canary kebabs
on a fire of lily of the valley and jasmine .
          Weird times, my love.
Iblis, drunk with victory,
presides at the table of our demise.
          Hide God in the locked closet.


Published in:
Little Star Weekly (10 January 2014). A translation of Ahmad Shamlou’s famous poem from 1980.