Project Description

Abbas Faiz


Abbas Faiz is a poet, translator and human rights expert. He writes poems in both Persian and English and his poems have been published online and in print. He has also read them to audiences in the UK and abroad. In addition, Abbas has translated into English poems from the 13th Century Persian poet, Rumi, and from the 14th Century Persian poet, Hafez. He has produced these translations in a series of literary events at the National Portrait Gallery and other venues. His co-translation, with Martin Turner, of صدای پای آب – Water’s Footfalls – by the contemporary Persian poet, Sohrab Sepehri, was published by Cambridge University Press and received a prize for best poetry in translation.

No Maker, only the Mistaker
By Abbas Faiz

THIS time in future
THIS day in the past
I am stationary in time – not travelling
My world, not opening up to my want of knowing it
My life, an accident in search of its maker, the mistaker
My mind, guarding a logic at odds with the under-certainties
And me, hostage to a knowledge alien to this fuzzy reality
I say: “it has to make sense if there is time, space, 2+2, gravity”
Still, though, seeing no sense in pain, suffering and drabity.
Or logic being used to justify chaos, its own travesty,
And nothing there to guide me,
No sign of the maker, lots of the mistaker!
Under the Silver Birch
By Abbas Faiz

Lying under the silver birch
Leaves planted into the sky
Murmuring onto my eyes!
High above, the blue;
Closer, playful clouds.

The grass, warm from the summer sun
Softens under my head, my back.
I thought it would be a deep sleep
Not so – the school boy is back
Back again to disrupt my sleep.

Old story:
He wants me to sleep not by my silver birch
But under his willow tree
Next to the large pond of his youth
In hot days of 40 degrees.
Not here, so low in temperature.
Says only his is fun and joy
Mine, he says, is fake and unreal.

“How wrong you are,” I will protest
“I am not you, I have moved here!”

He will just smile, repeating to me:
“We are both ME; Me, ME and You, ME.
“You have to come,
“Get up, travel back in time!
“It’s only a few decades journey!”

Smiling back I lower my voice,
“No! You travel up to me!”

This time he agrees!
This time we see this cannot be
We must not be in one place in time!
Not to override me by ME.

A chorus of two voices comes:
“Let’s swap, shall we?”
He comes and sleeps under my silver birch
I go and sleep by his willow tree.