April 24, 2018

One Night I Will Return to My Birthplace, by Majid Naficy

Today, a poem by Majid Naficy

One Night I Will Return to My Birthplace
by Majid Naficy
(Translation by Elizabeth T Gray Jr)

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.

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

About the poet: Majid Naficy fled Iran in 1983, a year and a half after the execution of his wife Ezzat in Tehran. Since 1984 Majid has lived in West Los Angeles. Naficy’s poetry has been widely anthologized, and he has published two collections of poetry in English, Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque, Books, 1999) and Father and Son (Red Hen Press, 2003).

A longer bio via the Translation projectMajid Naficy was born in Iran in 1952. He published poetry, criticism and an award-winning children’s book in Iran. During the 1970’s Dr. Naficy was politically active against the Shah’s regime. After the 1979 Revolution, as the new regime began to suppress the opposition, his first wife, Ezzat Tabaian and his brother Sa’id were amongst the many to be executed. He fled Iran in 1983, eventually settling in Los Angeles with his son Azad. He has since published six volumes of poetry in both English and Farsi, as well as numerous books of criticism. His most recent volume of poetry in English, Father and Son, was published in 2003 by Red Hen Press and his poem “I Don’t Want You Petroleum” appears in Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War (Thunder’s Mouth Press / Nation Books, April 2003). He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California in Los Angeles. His doctoral dissertation, Modernism and Idealogy in Persian Literature: A Return to Nature in the Poetry of Nima Yushij (University Press of America) was published in 1997. Dr. Naficy is also the co-editor of Daftarhaye Kanoon, a periodical in Farsi published by the Iranian Writer’s Association in Exile. 

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