Eternal Poetry of “Heydar Baba” by Shahryar
Posted by Parsin on May 2, 2008
1 Haydar Baba when it thunders,
Floods rush down
Girls stand back and watch,
I hail your glory and your people,
May you remember our names too.
2 When your partridges take flight,
When the rabbits hop out of the bushes,
When your gardens have burst into blossoms,
May you remember our name too,
And make our depressed hearts happy.
3 When Nowruz gales uproot garden shelters!
And Nowruz flowers and snow drops blossom!
When the clouds wring out their clothes!
Greetings to those who remember us,
Let our sighs turn into mountains.
4 Haydar Baba may the sun warm your back,
Make your smiles and your springs shed tears,
Your children collect a bunch of flowers,
Send it with the coming wind towards us,
Perhaps my sleeping fortune would awaken!
5 Haydar Baba may you be fortunate!
Be surrounded with springs and orchards!
May you live long after us!
The world is paved with events, deaths and losses!
This world has long been childless and an orphan!
6 Haydar Baba my way differed from yours,
Life passed, I could not come until late!
I could not learn what happened to your beautiful ones,
Did not know there were perilous paths,
Losses, separations and death.
7 Haydar Baba good sons are faithful,
Life passes, regrets are wasteful,
Disloyal sons won’t live long,
Believe me we have never forgotten you,
Forgive us if we failed to see you.
8 Haydar Baba when Mir Azhdar calls for pilgrimage,
And the village is filled with busy noise,
While Ashig Rustam played his saz,
Do you remember how with such enthusiasm we used to run?
Flapping like winged birds to fly?
9 Ashig apples from Shangulava village,
Staying there as a guest now and then,
Throwing stones at the apple and quince trees,
All have stayed in my memory like sweet dreams!
Have left traces in my soul and whole being!
10 Haydar Baba the geese of Guri lake,
The musical melody of the wind at twisted highways,
The summer and autumn seasons of the village,
Are like moving pictures in front of my eyes!
I sit and watch them within myself!
11 Haydar Baba, Gara Chiman’s Road,
The sound of pilgrims’ reciting,
May all the troubles of Karbala pilgrimers
Fall in the eyes of the greedy ones,
We are misled by the lies of ‘civilization’!
12 Haydar Baba, Satan has misled us!
Has dug love out of our hearts,
Has dictated to us the fate of dark days!
Has turned the people against each other!
Friendship is drowned in blood!
13 Blood is not shed if one sees another’s woe!
He who is human never carries a dagger!
Alas, ignorance is a blinding trap!
Our paradise is replaced with hell!
Our happy days are turning mournful!
14 When autumn leaves fall,
And clouds hover over our village,
Skeykhalislam calling for prayer with pleasant voice,
His spiritual words dropped on hearts,
Even the trees bow to his prayer!
15 May the Dashli Bulakh spring not be filled with gravel!
May its orchards not fade away!
May not passersby on horses ever be thirsty there!
Convey good luck to the running spring,
While watching horizons with sleepy eyes!
16 Haydar Baba, at your mountain slope,
The partridge sings, followed by its mate.
The white, grey and black lambs roam.
I wish to wander across the mountain and valleys,
Singing ‘o shephard return the flock’!
17 Haydar Baba, through the watery ground,
Spring water pours from the meadow’s eye,
Lilies swim on the water!
Pretty birds fly over there
Taking time to drink the spring water.
18 The farmhands at harvest time,
With scythes comb the wheat like hair,
The hunters seek out quail.
The farmhands drink their yoghurt,
And after a short nap, return to work.
19 Haydar Baba, as the sun sets over the village,
And the children have their dinner,
When the moon appears from behind the clouds,
Tell them stories from us too,
Put a lot of thoughts into our stories!
20 When granny used to tell us tales,
And the wind used to slam windows and doors,
When wolves used to gobble baby goats,
I still wish to return to childhood.
Once again burst into blossom, and fade away again.
21 I long to have my auntie’s bread, butter and honey,
Get up and put on my overcoat,
And collect gums from the garden trees,
I long for those sweet days!
When I used to ride my wooden horse!
22 Hajik hala used to wash clothes in the river,
Mamad Sadig used to repair his roof,
We never realized there were mountains, stones or walls,
We used to jump around everywhere!
How we used to live without care!
23 When Sheykhalislam used to call his prayer,
Mashadi Rahim put on his cloak
Mashadiajli used to have meatstew,
We were happy to have food and weddings,
It did not matter, what happens happens.
24 Malik Niyaz while galloping, used to suddenly stop’
Take his Varandil gun and shoot at his desired target,
Like falcon hitting their mountain prey.
The girls used to open their windows wide,
What a beautiful scene at the windows!
25 Haydar Baba when there is a wedding in the village,
The brides give henna and lamp wicks to their guests as gifts,
And the bridegrooms throw apples from the roof,
I still have my eyes on those girls,
And have my story to be told by singers.
26 Haydar Baba, your spring’s watercress,
The plantations’ cucumber and watermelon,
The hawker’s chewing gum and white rockcandy,
Still I remember its taste in my mouth!
It reminds me of my lost gone by days.
27 It was Nowruz, the night bird was singing,
The engaged girl, knitted socks for her man,
Everyone dropped his scarf through a hole,
What a nice tradition was scarf dropping!
And tying Nowruz gifts to the engaged man’s scarf!
28 I wanted a scarf too, crying for it in our house,
I got a scarf and wrapped it round my waist,
Ran to Gulam’s house and threw in my scarf,
Aunty Fatma tied socks on it for me ,
And remembering my Khan Nana, shed tears!
29 Haydar Baba, Mirzamamadin’s orchard,
And the orchards’ sweetsour plums,
The brides’ dowry and decorations on the shelves,
Line up in front of my eyes!
Appear along my other memories!
30 At Nowruz, they prepare red clay,
And model shapes to decorate rooms,
And put bowls, plates and lights on the shelves,
The bride’s henna tinted nails,
Cheer up her mother and mother inlaw.
31 Bakitraders’ story of adventures and papers,
The cows’ milk and cream,
The wednesday’s walnuts and raisins before Nowruz,
The girls jump over fire and water and say:
O wednesday make my fortune as clear as glass!
32 We used to colour eggs beautifully,
Hit eggs against each other and ate the broken ones,
Did we, ever once, become tired?
Ali used to give me green coloured ashig!
Reza used to pick flowers for me!
33 Nowruz Ali, used to thresh the wheat,
Now and then stopped and shovelled the husks,
Then you see a donkey suddenly stopped,
Looking at the mountain, pricked up its ears!
34 At evening, as the herd returned to the village,
We used to pull away the young ones and hold on to them,
When the herd passed and reached the village,
We used to mount bareback on the animals and ride,
And dealt with any objections.
35 At spring night, waterfall is heard in the river,
The rocks roaring down with the flood,
The wolf’s eyes shine in darkness,
Suddenly you hear the dogs start barking at a wolf,
And you see it climb over the hill and disappear.
36 In winter nights, the room next to the stables,
Is used as a sitting and bedroom by the villagers,
Wood burns bright in the stove.
Offered walnuts, dates and dried fruits,
The village is filled with the sound of talking and laughing.
37 Cousin Shuja’s gift from Baku,
His setting up the Samovar and chatting on the roof,
I remember his tall and handsome appearance.
His death turned his wedding into mourning,
The fortune mirror of Nana Giz became blurred.
38 Haydar Baba, the eyes of Nana Giz,
Rakhshanda’s very sweet words,
I wrote in Turkish so they can read,
They ought to know that man passes, only name remains,
Only a taste remains from good and bad.
39 Before spring the sun is far off,
The village children loved playing snowball,
The snow shoveller shovels snow from the roofs,
As if my soul is still there
Like a partridge fallen down and remained in the snow.
40 When Granny stretched out her spinning wheel,
And the sun spun its cotton in the cloud,
When the aged wolf lost its teeth.
The herd rose and leaped over the other road,
The milk bowls overflowed with milk.
41 Khajja Sultan showed her anger
Mulla Bagir quickly went silent,
The bread oven was on and smoke filled the house,
Our teapot boiled on the stove,
Roasting wheat jumped up and down on the baking tin,
42 We cleared the plantation and brought back the harvest,
Filled the house, shelves, boxes and wooden trays,
We cooked the marrow in the oven,
We ate the marrow and broke open its seeds,
Almost burst by eating too much,
43 When the pearseller arrived from Varzighan,
The children’s noise filled the village,
Hearing the news the other side of the village,
We ran quickly and made a jubilant noise,
We exchanged wheat for pears.
44 At night we went to the river with Mirza Tagi,
I looked at the drowned moon in the water!
Suddenly we saw light in the otherside orchard,
We thought it was a wolf, quickly ran
And did not realize when we climbed over the wall.
45 Haydar Baba, your trees became taller,
Alas your youth became old!
Your rich men became thin and poor!
The sun disappeared, its shades lost, darkness fell
The wolf’s eyes shined in the darkness!
46 I have heard that Allah’s light is lit,
Your mosque’s spring is running again,
The village people have become comfortable,
May Mansur Khan be healthy,
May Allah be his support, whereever is he!
47 Haydar Baba, does Mulla Ibrahim still live or not?
Does he still open his school for the children or not?
Does he shut his school at harvest time or not?
Convey my greeting to the teacher.
Convey with special respect and words.
48 ‘Khajja Sultan’s aunty has gone to Tabriz,
But let alone Tabriz, she cannot even come to our house.
Children get up and let us go to our own home;
Our headman died and our livelihood ended
Those who are like sheep, will be milked by others.
49 Haydar Baba, the world is a false one,
It has remained so from Solomen and Noah.
It has given birth to its sons, and put them in trouble.
It has taken away what has given to anyone,
From Plato remained only one name.
50 Haydar Baba, friends and comrades turned away,
Left me one by one in a deserted place and returned,
My springs and lights died down.
The sun set and the night fell at a critical place,
The world became like the ruins of Damascus for me.
51 The night that I went to Gipchagh with my cousin,
When the moon rose, the horse began prancing round,
We climbed from one mountain to another,
MashMami Khan rode his blueblack horse
Pulled free his rifle and fired off a shot.
52 Haydar Baba the valley of Gara Gol,
Khoshkanab’s road, twists and turns;
There the grey partridge raises her chicks,
From here we go to our village
Let us return to the story of our village.
53 Who has put Khoshkanab in this position?
Among the sayyids who lives and who doesn’t?
Who has brought Amir Gafar’s house?
Does the spring still run and fill the pool?
Or is it dried up and the orchards withered away?
54 Amir Gafar was the Sayyid’s leader,
His blocking of the shahs as they made their way was amazing.
He was sweet towards good men, but bitter to bad ones.
He trembled for the right of victims,
And stood against oppressors like a sword.
55 Uncle Mir Mustafa was a tall grand father;
Handsome and bearded, he looked like an older Tolstoy.
He could turn a mourning party to a wedding one.
He upheld the honour of Khoshkanab.
He embellished the appearance of mosques and gatherings.
56 Majdalsadat laughed like orchards,
Her voice was like cloudy mountains,
Words melted in her mouth like cream;
She had an open face and deep understanding,
Her green eyes shone with a bright light.
57 My father kept an open table,
Helping the people was his job,
He was the last of the good ones.
After him every thing changed,
The lights of affection went out.
58 Mir Saleh’s overthe top acting,
Mir Aziz’s passionate participation in religious ceremonies,
Mir Mamad’s sudden temper and cooling down,
These are all like past events and stories,
That have gone away, lost, dispursed.
59 Mir Abdul’s dying his eyebrows,
The dye dropping from sides of his eyebrows,
His standing on tiptoe to peer over the walls and houses,
These are like childhood tales of Shah Abbas,
I well remember the pleasant days of Khoshkanab.
60 Aunty Sitara baked lavash,
Mir Gadir snatched one from her,
Bolted away like a foal and ate,
It was funny the way he snatched the lavash
And my aunty’s reaction.
61 Haydar Baba, what is Amir Haydar doing?
Surely his samovar must still be on the boil?
He must be old and has lost his teeth
His ears hardly hear and his eyes have sunk in his eyebrows,
Poor aunty, it must make her sad!
62 Khanum aunty used to pull a face,
When she heard Mir Abdul speaking,
And swear that ‘Azrael take him’
They mixed their quarrel with jokes,
Had their dinner and went to bed afterwards.
63 Fizia Khanum was the flower of Khoshkanab,
Amir Yahya was the cousin’s favourite,
Rukhsara was like an actress and popular,
Sayyid Hussein makes fun of Mir Saleh,
Amir Jafar becomes upset and starts quarrelling.
64 Early morning the shephards came,
Collected lambs and sheep from the houses,
While aunty tended her babies,
The smoke rose from the bread ovens,
With the sweet smell of hot bread.
65 The pigeons soar up together
At sunrise they spread a golden curtain in sky!
Then collect the golden curtain and fly away
The sun rises higher and enhances the glory of the mountain
The face of nature becomes younger.
66 Haydar Baba, when you were snowclad,
Caravans passed over you at nights,
Whether I am in Tehran or Kashan
I still can see them in the distance
My imagination covers all the ground.
67 I wish I could climb again on your rocks
And look at the past and bygone ages,
See again what has happened to you!
I melt your snow with my tears,
And warm up winterstricken hearts.
68 Haydar Baba, flowers have withered in the bud
Alas blood is the food of the heart
Life is a dark prison,
No one opens the shutter of this prison!
To let us be free and escape from this prison!!
69 Haydar Baba, the skies are cloudy and misty
Our days are worse than before,
Take care lest we be separated one from another!
Goodness is taken away from us!
We are left in a desolate position!
70 Ask this cursed universe
What does it want from this chaos it has created?
Tell the universe to set the stars free
Let the earth turn up side down
And this Satanic system be removed.
71 I wish to fly with the blowing wind,
Race the water running from the mountain,
And shed tears for my deserted people,
Discover who created this division between us!
And who has passed away and who remain!
72 Like you I shout my words to the mountains;
You send this message to the skies;
You cannot even shut an owl in a cage;
Here is a lion, roaming from its prison cage,
Calling on insensitive human beings!
73 Haydar Baba, when your sense of honour is roused,
When the ‘black clouds’ leave you alone and fly away,
And rise from your rocks like a sheet of rain,
Get up and see my honour over there
Look down and see my suppressed being!
74 Haydar Baba, when geese fly over at night,
Koroghli’s eyes recognize dark shadow,
Mounts on his horse, Girat, and gallops away,
Here I can not achieve my purpose so quickly!
I can not sleep unless Eyvaz returns safely!
75 Haydar Baba, give birth to brave sons,
Break the necks of the wicked,
Trap the wolves at the high way,
Let the herd freely graze in the open,
The sheep become fat!
76 Haydar Baba, may you always be cheerful!
Your mouth enjoy good fare!
Your table be open to both friends and strangers,
Tell the world that my poet son Shahryar!
Has sorrow piled upon sorrow in all his days!
Translated by Professor, Dr. Gholam-Reza Sabri-Tabrizi
University of Edinburgh and University of Baku
London, Febuary 29,2002.
In July 2001 Professor Ali Minai and I met in Malmo. We had a fruitful talk about Azerbaijan’s culture and scholars such as Professor Zia Bunyadov. During our conversation, I mentioned that I had translated part of Haydar-Baba of Shahryar into English. He asked me to read those lines in English for him.Impressed by my translation, he asked me to translate the whole 76 five-line poems of Haydar-Baba into English.
I acceded to Professor Minai’s request and undertook the translation.Although it took longer than expected due to my teaching duties at Baku Universities, I finished it on 19th February 2002.When I telephoned Professor Minai with my good news, his daughter told me that her father had suddenly passed away. I regret that he could not live to see my translation.
Finally I must add that my translation is a free translation as Professor Minai requested. I have however tried to convey the sense and feeling of Haydar-Baba.