Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tears of the Orphan

Here's a translation of a poem I recently read, thought it was great, so here it is.
Tears of the Orphan

One day, a king went on procession through the streets and alleys
Cries of joy arose from every street and roof
From amongst the crowd, an orphan asked
"What is that shiny thing on your crown?"
Someone responded "What do we know about what that is?
It is clearl enough that it is something expensive."
A hunchbacked old woman came close and said
"That is the tears of my eyes and the sorrow of your heart
We are deceived by the clothes and crook
This wolf has been familiar with the herd for years
This pious one who has bought villages and fiefs, is a highwayman
That king who eats the wealth of the people is a beggar
Look upon those tears of the orphans
Until you understand from whence comes the brightness of jewels"
Parvin, what benefit does honest speech bring the wayward
Where is the person who does not suffer when hearing words of truth

The author is Parvin Etesami, and this poem follows the pattern whereby the last line mentions the poet themselves. This was written during the Shah's time and the political message is fairly blunt, a courageous stance given the harsh treatment of dissenters.