Hey You (translation)

Hey you, sitting on the shore, laughing in joy,

someone is dying in the waves.

Someone is constantly beating with his hands and legs.

On this agitated, dark, heavy sea you see

when you’re drunk

with the thought of defeating your enemy,

when you wonder in vain

that you’ve held hands with the powerless

to bring forth better power,

when you fasten

your resolution on your belt …

When else shall I say?

In vain someone wastes his life in waves.

Hey you, feasting at the table on the shore,

with bread on your plate, clothes on your body.

Someone from the water beckons you,

beating the heavy tide with his exhausted hands,

mouth gaping with wide open fear-filled eyes,

seeing your shadows from afar

swallowing water in that dark depth,

getting impatient minute by minute.

Treading water—

now his hands, now his legs.

Hey you,

he’s watching this ancient world from afar,

crying in hope of being saved.

Hey you, watching the calm shore!

The wave beats hard on the silent shore,

falls and spreads like a drunkard, unconscious,

then recedes, shouting. From afar the voice is heard:

“Hey you!”

And the wind sounds ever sharper.

In the wind his shouts are ever louder

from close and far waters.

It resounds in our ears:

“Hey you!”


آی آدمها



آی آدم‌ها، که در ساحل نشسته شاد و خندانید،

یک نفر در آب دارد می‌سپارد جان

یک نفر دارد که دست و پای دائم می‌زند

روی این دریای تند و تیره و سنگین که می‌دانید،

آن زمان که مست هستید

از خیال دست یابیدن به دشمن،

آن زمان که پیش خود بیهوده پندارید

که گرفتستید دست ناتوان را

تا توانایی بهتر را پدید آرید،

آن زمان که تنگ می‌بندید

بر کمرهاتان کمربند

در چه هنگامی بگویم؟

یک نفر در آب دارد می‌کند بیهوده جان، قربان.


آی آدمها که در ساحل بساط دلگشا دارید،

نان به سفره جامه تان بر تن،

یک نفر در آب می‌خواند شما را

موج سنگین را به دست خسته می‌کوبد،

باز می‌دارد دهان با چشم از وحشت دریده

سایه‌هاتان را ز راه دور دیده،

آب را بلعیده در گود کبود و هر زمان بی‌تابی‌اش افزون.

می‌کند زین آب‌ها بیرون

گاه سر گه پا آی آدمها!

او ز راه دور این کهنه جهان را باز می‌پاید،

می‌زند فریاد و امید کمک دارد.

آی آدمها که روی ساحل آرام در کار تماشایید!

موج می‌کوبد به روی ساحل خاموش؛

پخش می‌گردد چنان مستی بجای افتاده. بس مدهوش

می‌رود نعره‌زنان این بانگ باز از دور می‌آید:

آی آدمها» …

و صدای باد هر دم دلگزاتر؛

در صدای باد بانگ او رها‌تر،

از میان آبهای دور و نزدیک

باز در گوش این نداها:

آی آدمها» …


Nima Yushij

Nima Yushij (1897-1960), the father of Persian modernism, was famous for introducing the sheʿr-e now (new poetry) style to modern Persian literature. Nima challenged the classical inflexible abstract forms and structures of classical Persian poetry by his objective descriptions and symbolist narrative poems. Nearly all currents of modernist Persian poetry have defined themselves in terms of the new poetics Nima developed in his letters and diaries.

Rebecca Ruth Gould

Rebecca Ruth Gould’s poems and translations have appeared in Nimrod, Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Hudson Review, Waxwing, Wasafiri, and Poetry Wales. She translates from Persian, Russian, and Georgian, and has translated books such as After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi (2016) and The Death of Bagrat Zakharych and other Stories by Vazha-Pshavela (2019).

Kayvan Tahmasebian

Kayvan Tahmasebian (https://poets.org/poet/kayvan-tahmasebian) is a poet, translator, literary critic, and the author of Isfahan’s Mold (Sadeqia dar Bayat Esfahan, 2016). His poetry has appeared in Notre Dame Review, the Hawai’i Review, Salt Hill, and Lunch Ticket, where it was a finalist for The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts. With Rebecca Ruth Gould, he is co-translator of High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (The Operating System, 2019).