Translated by Kaveh Bassiri
from Issue 21
Night. A humid night, where the face
of the land has lost its color.
Wind, the descendent of clouds gallops
down the mountainside toward me.
Night, like a bloated body warm in the standing air.
From here, a lost man can’t see his way.
The warm body of the desert extends
like a corpse tight in its grave,
like the charred heart
in my tired body burning feverishly.
There is night. Yes. Night.
Nima Yushij (1897-1960) was born in the small town of Yush in the northern province of Mazandaran in Iran. He is known as the father of Modern Persian Poetry and is possibly the most influential Iranian poet of the twentieth century.
Kaveh Bassiri is a recipient of Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency and Walton Translation Fellowship. His poetry won the Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Award and was recently published in Best New Poets 2011, Virginia Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Review, and Mississippi Review.
Original text: Nima Yushij, “Hast Shab” from Nima Yushij and a Selection of His Poems. Iran: 1955.