Sadness – Ahmad Shamlou


They smell your mouth

in case you said, ‘I love you.’

They smell your heart

in case there is a flame hidden in it.

It’s a strange time, beloved.

And they whip Love at the roadside post.

One must hide love in the pantry.

In this twisted wintry cul-de-sac

the fire

is kept burning

with the fuel of anthems and poetry.

Do not risk thinking.

It’s a strange time, beloved,

He who pounds on the door at night time

has come to kill the lantern.

One must hide light in the pantry.*

Now the butchers are stationed at every crossroads

with bloodied block and cleaver.

It’s a strange time, beloved.

And they carve a smile on the lips

and a song on the mouth.

One must hide joy in the pantry

The canary becomes a kebab

on the fires of rose and jasmine

It’s a strange time, beloved.

The drunken victorious demon

is feasting at the table of our death.

God too must be hidden in the pantry.

Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000) translated by Martin and Farah V. Turner

*Pastou … hidden inner room or sanctum for food storage.


  • Oh Mortal Month of May!

    In the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, May 2021 is marked by a huge cultural loss, as regrettably seven eminent and irreplaceable figures of culture, arts and literature of Iran passed away during this month

  • Mansour Owji [1937-2021]

    BIO BRIEF Mansour Owji (November 30, 1937 – May 8, 2021) was a contemporary Iranian poet and writer. He was born in the Darb-e-Astane Seyyed […]

  • Mohammad Qazvini [1877-1949]

    Qazvini, Mohammad (Tehran, 30th March 1877 – 27th May 1949) [10th Farvardin 1256 – 6th Khordad 1328]. A pioneer in the field of literary and […]

  • May 2016

    1. Painter Parviz Kalantari dies at 85 The diligent artist and illustrator Parviz Kalantari, famous for his indigenous drawings of Iranian nomadic life passed away […]

  • May 2015 Roundup

    I. The 28th Tehran Int’l Book Fair Held Tehran International Book Fair is annually held in May as a social and cultural phenomenon with book […]

  • Badiozzaman Forouzanfar Award

    Professor Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (originally named Mohammad-Hassan Boshruyei) was born on 12 July 1904 in Boshruyeh of Ferdows County and passed away on May 6, 1970. His […]

  • Reza Amirkhani [b. 1973]

    BIO BRIEF Born in Tehran a few years before the Islamic Revolution, Reza Amirkhani is a true representative of the Revolution Generation, or as they […]

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.