Poetry by Nader Naderpour

Hunting Day

Today is hunting day.
I set out to the mountain’s edge
where the dense forest frowns
under the sun’s broad smile.
When the bullet zips, I vanish.
The lioness leaps like the spark
from a struck stone,
sinking her fangs in my throat,
coloring my shirt with fresh blood
that splashes to the ground like yolk.
My brain gushes under the wet vines.

A Heart Shaped Stone

Your long legs:
a picture of crystalline days
when I descended from heights
to wash my burnt feet
in the bright water
of childhood’s spring.

Your footsteps bring morning
with the new year’s silvery shoes
in spring alleyways.

Your hands reach with the Caretaker
toward the cradle of my life
to swing me in joy through the world.

Your eyes, stars in a nest,
bring good news of the future;
reflecting Fate’s smile.

Shine on me.
Rise in me.
Turn me into a mirror,
into running water,
till your crystalline hand
comes through your sleeve,
searching my chest for a piece
of heart-shaped stone.

Birth of a Star

Strange gaze in the mirror,
behind my dark hair of puberty
thoughts of the morning sun
arose within.

Today in my old age
the sun still shines on my head,
but true thoughts rising within
shadow this false dawn.

Night flows into consciousness,
a long dangerous way
to the indifferent mirror:
from bright adolescent dawn
to the evening of senility.

Strange gaze in the mirror,
tomorrow my image becomes
a baby reborn
into a foreboding dawn.
This milk-and-sugar-haired old child
emerges from a mother as bitter as the night,
preparing for a more unpleasant life to come
of dark solitude.

Congratulations on the unexpected meeting
of this baby
with both cradle and grave.
Wonderful night,
congratulations on the birth of this star!


Wind’s sharp sword
severed water’s protruding belly.
From the incision, the sun’s blood-stained fish
was thrown on the beach
like a warm heart.
The night heard the moan
of the old sea
and settled
beside her bed.


Nader Naderpour

Nader Naderpour (1929 -2000) was born in Tehran and received his early education in Europe. He returned to Iran to publish his first collection of poetry in the 1940s. In the later 1960's, he helped found "The Association of Writers of Iran and directed the literature department of the Iranian National Radio and Television Department. He fled the Iranian Revolution in 1980, living in France until the late 1980's, when he moved to the United States. Regarded as one of the leaders of the movement of "New Poetry" in Iran, he published ten collections of poems. Naderpour was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Grant in 1993.

Roger Sedarat and Rouhollah Zarei

Roger Sedarat, a translator of classical and modern Persian literature into English, is the author of the poetry collections Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP's Hollis Summers Prize, and Ghazal Games (forthcoming, Ohio UP). He has published articles on translation studies as well as on Middle-Eastern American literature. His literary translations are forthcoming in such journals as Metamorphoses: A Journal of Literary Translation, Ezra, Dirty Goat, Panhandler, College English Notes, and Drunken Boat. He teaches poetry and translation in the MFA Program at Queens College, City University of New York. He can be reached at [email protected].


Rouhollah Zarei received his PhD from University of Essex, specializing in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. He lectures in the English Department at Yasouj University, Iran. He can be reached at [email protected].

"Hunting Day" (from Cock and Bull Story, 1978). "A Heart Shaped Stone" (from The Last Supper, 1978). "Birth of a Star" (from Earth and Time, 1996). "Evening" (from The Sun's Collyrium, 1960). Copyright (c) Jaleh Naderpour. English translation copyright (c) Roger Sedarat and Rouhollah Zarei, 2014.