Weathervane

from the Persian of Nima Yushij

A bird has nestled on our roof
…………and another in an oak;
one’s chirping all the time and one
…………is hushed like flameless smoke.

Its eyes and wings are welded shut,
…………fused from soul to feather;
metal plumage, burnished beak
…………give shape to the weather.

The other bird, whose life is song,
…………shivers from feather to soul;
it can neither hide in the oak tree’s shade
…………nor abandon its broken bole.

But if you listen carefully
…………you’ll hear the dead bird’s call
echo in the living voice
…………the oak tree has in thrall.

A bird has nestled on our roof.
…………It’s always there. Its wings,
though soldered, mount the passing air.
…………It’s silent, but it sings.

 

 

Nima Yushij (1895-1960) was the pioneer of she’r-e now (“new poetry”), one of the earliest forms of free verse in Persian, and is often credited with launching modern Persian poetry.

Armen Davoudian

Armen Davoudian

Armen Davoudian’s poems and translations appear in AGNI, The Sewanee Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Swan Song, won the 2020 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and is currently a PhD candidate in English at Stanford University.
Armen Davoudian

Latest posts by Armen Davoudian (see all)

Author: Armen Davoudian

Armen Davoudian’s poems and translations appear in AGNI, The Sewanee Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Swan Song, won the 2020 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and is currently a PhD candidate in English at Stanford University.