Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Majid Naficy: One night I will return to my birthplace

One night I will return to my birthplace
to stand on my rooftop
and pick stars.

Father will say, ‘Look, There!
Don’t you see the Seven Brothers?’
I will stretch out my hands
and caress their unsheathed swords.
Then the nightly battle will begin.
Together we will cast out the moon-eating dragon
and in the dark corners of heaven
we will fasten each star firmly in place.

At dawn Mother will say, ‘Look,
There! Don’t you see the Two Sisters?’
I will stretch out my hands
and caress their jugs of water.
They are the messengers of the rain-making clouds
that disappear with the rising sun.

My brothers! My sisters!
One night I will return to my birthplace
so that under my childhood sky
I will find again my own stars.

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Note: The ‘Seven Brothers’ refers to the Pleiades, and the ‘Two Sisters’ are the dog stars Sirius and Procyon.

Translated from the Persian by Elizabeth T. Gray, jr


 

Copyright 2018 by Majid Naficy and Elizabeth T. Gray, jr. First published in Modern Poetry in Translation. Reprinted by permission of the author and translator.

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The Pleiades star cluster as seen by the second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey

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