Sohrab Sepehri, poet and painter was born in 1928 in Kashan Iran. After obtaining his high school diploma, he attended and obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Honar-haye Ziba (Fine Arts) Faculty of Tehran University. In the first twelve years after his graduation he worked in several government agencies while on the side pursuing his personal interest in poetry and painting. During these years he also travelled on numerous occasions to Europe, and Africa.
In 1964 he completely resigned from his governmental position and began focusing all his time and energy on poetry and painting. He moved and lived in USA for one year, and subsequently spent about two years living in Paris. During this time period he painted numerous paintings applying the same soft and gentle style, which can be found in his poems.
In 1979 he was diagnosed with cancer and for the last time he moved to England for treatment. A year later, in 1980, he passed away in Tehran and now he rests in his birthplace, Kashan.
The Foot Steps Of Water
Life's a pleasant tradition.
Life's wing is as vast as death.
Life's a jump the size of love.
Life's not something,
we put on the mantel of habit
It does not matter where I am.
The sky is always mine.
Windows, ideas, air, love,
earth, all mine.
Why does it matter if sometimes,
the mushrooms of nostalgia grow?
Let's take off our clothes.
Water is just a foot away.
Let's have a basket and
fill it up with all the greens
and all the reds.
We are not to comprehend;
the secret of roses, but maybe
swimming in the incantation of roses.
Or may be looking for
the song of truth
between the morning glory,
and the century.
There was a special moment,
All doors were open.
No leaves, no branches,
The garden of annihilation had appeared.
birds of places were silent,
This silent, that silent,
The silence itself was utterance.
What was that area?
Seems a ewe and a wolf,
Standing side by side.*
The shape of the sound, pale
The voice of the shape, weak
Was the curtain folded?
I was gone, he was gone,
We had lost us.
The beauty was alone.
Every river had become a sea,
Every being had become a Buddha.
* Refers to dawn
Translations by: Mahvash Shahegh
An Oasis in the Moment
If you come to visit me,
You will find me behind the realm of naught.
Behind naught there is a place
Where the veins of the air is full of dandelions
Who bring the happy tidings of flowers blossoming at the farthest bush.
Over the sands also you can see the delicate footsteps of the horseman who mounted the anemone hill of ascension at morning.
Beyond the realm of naught, the umbrella of desire has been spread
So that the breeze of thirst can run into the root of the leave,
The siren of the rain resounds.
One is lonely here,
And in this loneliness the shade of an elm tree stretches to eternity.
If you come to visit me
Come gently and slowly lest the fragile china
of my solitude cracks.
"Where is the friend's house?," the rider asked in the twilight.
The passerby bestowed the flood of light on his lips to darkness of sands
And pointed to a poplar and said:
"Near the tree,
Is a garden-line greener than God's dream
Where love is bluer than the feathers of honesty.
Walk to the end of the lane which emerges from behind puberty,
Then turn towards the flower of solitude;
Two steps to the flower,
Stay by the eternal mythological fountain of earth
where a transparent fear will visit you.
In the flowing intimacy of the space you will hear a rustling sound:
You will see a child
Who has ascended a tall plane tree to pick up chicks from the nest of light.
Where is the friend's house?
Paintings by Sepehri
The reeds are brawling.
The birds are humming.
The door is open and the glance is lost,
a message, reaching for the continuation of the field.
A cow under the spruce.
Eternity on the awnings.
Illusions, jutting the cusp of every leaf.
And there are no words,no names.
Below, road of honesty.
Above, sun of unison.
The Primal Call
Where are my shoes
who was it that called Sohrab
the voice was familiar, as is air with the body of a leaf
mother is sleeping
so are Manutchehr and Parvaneh, and maybe
everybody in town
it is a summer night, an elegy quietly passing
over the moments
and a cool breeze is sweeping my sleep
along the green edges of the blanket
there is a smell of migration
my pillow is stuffed with the songs of the swallows.
Morning will come
and the sky will migrate
into this water bowl,
I must go tonight.
I spoke through the openest window with the people
but I heard no word of the stuff of times
no eye glanced lovingly at the earth
nobody was fascinated by a garden
nobody took the magpie in the field seriously.
I feel as gloomy as a cloud
when I see Hoori
- that is our neighbor's mature girl -
under the rarest elm on the earth
But there are some things, some high moments
( I saw a woman poet, for example
so absorbed in space
that the sky laid eggs in her eyes,
also one night
a man asked me
how long it takes to reach the rising grapes. )
I must go tonight
I must pack the suitcase
which has enough room for my robe of solitude
and must go where
I can see epical trees
towards that wordless enormity which keeps calling me.
Somebody again called Sohrab
where are my shoes ?