Three Odes to Spring: Shafiei Kadkani

Pari Azarm Motamedi is an Iranian artist now living in Canada whose devotion to literature is manifest in her paintings. Her practice and interests for the past thirty years have been the translation and interpretation of contemporary Persian poetry into the English language and into the visual language of her paintings. Inspired by the poetry of Mohammad Reza Shafii Kadkani, she has translated and painted the poems of this renowned contemporary poet. Sokhan Publishers in Tehran, published a collection of 40 paintings and 86 English translations by Azarm Motamedi, edited by Alan Williams, in May 2008. The book titled ‘In the Mirror of the Stream’ won the prestigious Parvin Etesami Award for Translation in 2010. What follows is a selection of Shafiei’s poems on spring in Azarm’s English translationby courtesy of Sokhan Publishers:

Image: Painting by Pari Azarm Motamedi @Bellevue Gallery, Canada.


It is coming, it is coming:

like spring, from all directions, it is coming.

Neither wall,

nor barbed wire

does it recognise.

It is coming

it does not linger at a walk or a gallop.


Let me be like a drop of rain,

in this desert,

that brings good news of this arrival to the earth;

or the throat of a small lark

that in mid-winter

is singing of the spring pennyroyal mit

when by the lead bullet

with the drop


drop of its blood

on the non-stop, monotonous music of snow

it bestows the purple refrain.

Of Fluid Moments

At the height of spring, when the dawn is awake

render me like the rain

like the flower

to that wavelike river of luminosity.

In that azure spring

— those two fields of resurrection

in that receptive and elusive silence

like a song,

once again,

repeat me.

With the Green Sprouted Wheat of Changiz

Here they have sprinkled

a pink and green dust on the trees in the distance,

which is still floating,


in the air.

From far away,

I can still sense the scent of your spring,

mingled with the blood of autumn.

Oh meadow, the fragrance of departure

wafts from every single leaf of your garden,

and your spring.

I see,



the sparrows

on the edge of the pool,

speaking with the red fish

about leaving.’

With the green sprouted wheat of Changiz

the farmer of Tus and Tabriz!

May the ancient New Year be auspicious!

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