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I have been honoured with being the first visitor to this homepage, and I want to take the opportunity and make a proposition for creating a workshop where translators of Shamlu's poems may cooperate and solve each other's problems.

To start with, I would like to put forward my own audacious effort in translating Shamlu's most famous poem, Pariya (The Fairies).

Those who have read this poem in Persian know that, all other properties aside, it is highly rhythmical.

I believe that any rendition of this poem in other languages without some sort of rhythm will be far behind the original.

Now, the question is "How can one give the translation a proper rhythm?"

I think Mayakovsky's "ladder-step verse system" can help.

As you know, this famous Russian poet creates an effective rhythm by utilizing the alternate occurance of silence and speech. He does so by breaking up his lines of verse into shorter lines.

I'm not sure of the result, but I believe it is worth trying.

I am especially interested to know if the native speaker's ear finds it rhythmical AND interesting when applied to Shamlu's poem.

Here is a small part of the poem The Fairies in this form.

Let us make use of it as a launching pad, and try to achieve really good results, maybe quite different from what is given here.

"Iraj Kaboli"


Once upon a time ,
under the blue
dome of the sky
there were three
fairies, so fair;
just after dusk,
with nothing on.
Fairies wept hard,
as weep clouds
in the spring.

Their long hair was
as long as bow,
as dark as jet; longer than bow

Facing them was,
far off in sight,
the slavers’ town.

Behind them was,
dark and bleak,
fort of legend,
older than time.

Far off was heard
clanking of chains;
from fortress aback
came moaning of pain

“- Fairies dear!
Hungry you feel?
Faries dear!
Thirsty you feel?
Faries dear!
Tired became?
Wing-tied became?
Why do you moan,
weep and bewail?”

Fairies were mute,
weeping so hard,
as weep clouds
in the spring…

“-Fairies dear,why do you wail?
In this desert
far off and dark,
suppose it snowed,
suppose it rained
Or came the wolf
to eat you up,
Or came the ghoul
to eat you raw.
Aren’t you scared,
fairies dear?
Don’t want to come
to our city?
It’s our city!
Can you hear?
Its chains clank
.Fairies dear!
Look at my height,
look at my horse:

my horse is white
with shoes shining
as if silver;
its tail and mane
just like honey.

My mount is fast,
as fast as gale
Like a gazelle
with iron veins!

Look at its neck,
look at its legs!
Look at its nose
high in the air!

The lights are on
all over town,
Dens are smashed
of all the ghouls .
Folks of village
come here tonight.
Beating drums,
they come to town

tombak they beat,
and tambourine
they dance around
and make you dance
They pour around
buds that smile,popcorn a lot.

“Hey hey,”
they say.
“Hoy, hoy,”
they say,
“the town is ours!

People rejoice, Ghoul is annoyed,ours is the world,
Ghoul is annoyed,
Whiteness is king,
Ghoul is annoyed,
Darkness is shamed,
Ghoul is annoyed.”…
Faries dear!
The day is up;
the fortress gates
are all closed.
If you get up
before it’s late
and mount my horse,
we go to town
of our people.
Listen to it:

there, chains clank
as they’re dropped
by the slaves.
Yes, my dears!
All heavy chains,
link upon link

fall off the hands,
fall off the legs
They are rotten,
so they break,
and lead the ghouls
to misery

if they flee
into forest,
they find spikes
all over it
if they flee
up to the field,
salt-marsh they find
all over it

But our place …
(I wish you knew,

fairies dear!)
All tower gates
will be opened
all the slaves
will be freed,
all the ruins
will be rebuilt.

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