Sunday Poem

In This Deadend

They smell your mouth.
To find out if you have told someone,
I love you!
They smell your heart!

Such a strange time it is, my dear;

They punish Love
At thoroughfares
By flogging.

We must hide our love in dark closets.

In this crooked deadend of a bitter cold
They keep their fire alive
By burning our songs and poems;
Do not place your life in peril by your thoughts!

Such a strange time it is, my dear;

He who knocks on your door at middle-night,
His mission is to break your lamp!
We must hide our lights in dark closets!

Behold! butchers are on guard at thoroughfares
With their bloodstained cleavers and chopping boards;

Such a strange time it is, my dear!

They cut off the smiles from lips,
and the songs from throats!

We must hide our emotions in dark closets!

They barbecue canaries
On a fire of lilacs and jasmine!

Such a strange time it is, my dear!

Intoxicated by victory,
Satan is enjoying a feast at our mourning table!

We must hide our God in dark closets!

by Amad Shamloo

translation: Mahvash Shahegh & dan Newsome

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