Three poems translated from the Persian by Kayvan Tahmasebian and Rebecca Ruth Gould, from HOUSE ARREST by Hasan Alizadeh, Arc Publications

Arc Publications, 2022.

Psalm 22

I’m thinking of you
& when I’m not thinking of you

I’m an enamoured knight
with four little nail wounds.
Caress me
O my love,
as you do your lovers
with an unwritten word.
I have not smelled your apple
nor have I kissed your mouth.
I’m word made flesh, I’m the blackness of the letter,
not Zion’s fir tree.
I’m the grass on the roof,
on this cross of pain.
I’m still seeking you
with a written word.


Everything gets lost in this house
for a genie to replace the lost thing right away.
The genie is invisible.
It’s a small empty space.
In a small empty space,
as long as the small empty space is empty,
a temporary genie
begins to speak immediately.
If you listen carefully,
its words
are a small empty space
in a small empty space
as long as the small empty space is empty.
I said it. Didn’t I?
I said:
Everything gets lost in this house.


I fell in love with a sweet-lipped
girl from Balkh.
Every night she dreams of
the moon & the blankets
on white roofs
or her bathing
in the green pond full of flixweed
a black but blind fish
sighed at the fate of my sweetheart.

I had nothing to do with her strange
sweet & bitter girlish dreams.
The passion of her body whiter than jasmine
was enough & kisses on those flower-scented lips.

Yet so many years passed over
me, the black-hearted careless youth.
The moon & the sheets are gone
with cob roofs
& the green pond full of flixweed,

my Balkh of Bamyan
with roofs whitened by the moon’s gaze.
I sigh & sigh.

مزامیر ۲۲

به تو می‌اندیشم
و آنگاه که به تو نمي‌اندیشم

شهسوار دل‌از‌کف‌نهاده‌ام
با چار میخک کبود
محبوب من
هم به گونه‌ی دلدادگانت
با کلامی که مکتوب نیست.
سیب تو را نبوییده‌ام
دهان تو را نبوسیده‌ام
تجسد کلامم سواد حرف
نه صنوبر صهیون
علف بامم
بر این صلیب رنج.
همچنان تو را می‌جویم
با کلامی که مکتوبست.


گم می‌شود هر آنچه در این خانه
فی‌الفور جای گم‌شده را جن پر می‌کند.
مرئی که نیست جن
جن یک فضای کوچک خالی‌ست.
در یک فضای کوچک خالی
تا آن فضای کوچک خالی، خالی‌ست
جنی موقتی
از نا‌گهان به حرف می‌افتد
و حرف او
دقت که می‌کنی
خود یک فضای کوچک خالی
در یک فضای کوچک خالی‌ست
تا آن فضای کوچک خالی، خالی‌ست.
گفتم. نگفتم؟
گم می‌شود هر آنچه در این خانه.


عاشق شدم به دختری از بلخ
لب‌های او شیرین
چشمان او تلخ.
رویای هر شبه‌اش
ماه و ملافه‌ها
در پشت‌بام‌های سفید
یا غوطه خوردنش در آبگیر سبز پر از خاکشیر
یک ماهی سیاه ولی کور
بر سرنوشت دلبرکم آه می‌کشید آه.
کاری به خواب‌های غریبش نداشتم
آن خواب‌های دخترانه‌ی شیرین و تلخ.
تاب و تب تن سفید‌تر از یاس او
بس بو د و بوسه بر لب گلبو.

اما چه سال‌ها که گذشتند
بر من جوان سربهوای سیاه‌دل.
ماه و ملافه‌ها رفتند
با بام‌های کاه‌گلی
و آبگیر سبز پر از خاکشیر

آن بلخ بامیانم
با پشت‌ بام‌های سفید از نگاه ماه.

هی آه می‌کشم و آه.


Hasan Alazideh was born in 1947 into a wealthy family based in the religious city of Mashhad. He embarked on a literary career, initially as a short story writer, and as a young fiction writer he published in the avant-garde fiction anthology Tablet (1967-1977). With only two poetry collections to his name, Alizadeh’s talent is widely recognized in Iran, as shown by his having won the Modern Iranian Poetry Prize in 2002, but very little is known about him personally as he declines to give interviews or talk about himself.

Kayvan Tahmasebian is an Iranian poet, translator and critic. He is the author of Isfahan’s Mold (Goman, 2016), a book about the short story writer Bahram Sadeqi. Tahmasebian has also translated Beckett , Rimbaud, T. S. Eliot, Ponge, and Mallarmé into Persian.

Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer, translator and scholar working on the intersections of literary, legal and political theory. She is coeditor of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (2020) and author of Writers and Rebels: The Literatures of Insurgency in the Caucasus (2016).