The Orphan’s Tear

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 115th birthday.

03-16 Etesami
Parvin E’tesami
Persian
1907 – 1941

 

From every street and roof rose joyous shouts;
The king that day was passing through the town
An orphan boy amidst this speaks his doubts,
What is that sparkle that’s atop his crown?

Someone replied : that’s not for us to know,
But it’s a priceless thing, that’s clear!
A crone approached, her twisted back bent low,
She said: that’s your heart’s blood and my eye’s tear!

We were deceived by shepherd’s staff and robe
He is a wolf; for many years he’s known the flock.
The saint who craves control is but a rogue
A beggar is the king who robs his flock.

Upon the orphan’s tears keep fixed your gaze.
‘Til you see from where comes the jewel’s glow.
How can straight talk help those of crooked ways?
And frank words will to most folk deal a blow.

 

Translation by Suheil Laher

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