Iowa Writes

PARTAW NADERI
Lucky Men


When your star is unseen in this desolate sky,
your despair itself becomes a star.

My twin, the steadfast sun, and I
both grasp its far-flung brilliance.

* * * *

In a land where water is locked up
in the very depths of desiccated rocks,
the trees are ashamed of their wizened fruits.

The honest orchard is laid waste—
such a bloodied carpet
is spread before the future.

When your star is unseen in this desolate sky,
your despair itself becomes a star.

My twin, the steadfast sun, and I
both grasp its far-flung brilliance.

* * * *

In a land where water is locked up
in the very depths of desiccated rocks,
the trees are ashamed of their wizened fruits.

The honest orchard is laid waste—
such a bloodied carpet
is spread before the future.

* * * *

Yesterday, leaning on my cane,
I returned from the trees’ cremation.

Today, I search the ashes
for my lost, homeless phoenix.

Perhaps it was you who shadowed me,
perhaps it was only my shadow.

Even though the lucky men in my land
lack stars in the heavens, lack shadows on the earth

they welcome any stars
that grace their devastated sky.

O, my friend, my only friend,
turn your anguish into constellations!


Peshawar City
November, 2002

Translated from the Dari by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


PARTAW NADERI

Partaw Naderi has published five poetry collections and several prose books on modern Afghan literature. He heads the media division of the Afghan Civil Society Forum in Kabul. He is participating in the 2006 International Writing Program.

International Writing Program

This page was first displayed
on October 25, 2006

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