Forough Farrokhzad

(5 January 1935 - 14 February 1967 / Tehran)

One Day Ali Told His Mom - Poem by Forough Farrokhzad

The little Ali,
The spoiled Ali,
woke up suddenly-
At exact midnight.

He rubbed his eyes-
with his little hands.
He yawned twice-
and then he sat.

What had happened?
What had he seen?

He had a dream, about a fish;
A shiny, gilded fish,
soft, sleek, slick,
light, bright, slight.

It was like sunshine-
Across a navy pane,
throwing sparkle and stars-
to both Ali’s eyes.
And finally,
she laid on surface
with its tiny wings,
padding water’s face.

It smelt so good,
like washed, clean sheets,
like new notebooks,
like presents’ wraps.

It felt like warm nights-
on the top of roof.
It felt like stars, like rain, like a full moon.
It smelt like candy, like chocolate, jelly.
It was just- so pretty.

It looked like a goddess, bathing in heavenly lakes,
It looked like a saint with a golden crown,
It looked like divine visions of Paradise.

Whatever it was,
Whoever she was,
Bewitched our Ali…
Yes, Little Ali- fell madly in love-
with that shiny fish.

As soon as Ali, pulled his small hands-
to catch that piece of art, that rare beauty,
Sky got mad, ranting and raving;
Storm started roaring and raging.
Rain poured down like hell.
Then the soil tore off,
and took up the fish.

Little Ali was left alone,
in his tiny bed, with no dream,
with no shiny fish,
upset and in daze!


The wind was blowing, brutal, in the yard.
It was dragging tresses of the trees.
It was flowing, under covers and sheets.

The wind was blowing and on the rope,
wet clothes and wears were hung, fairly close,
they were playing, dancing in the breeze.

Cheerful crickets were nicely harping.
If the wind was mild, frogs were singing.
Brief, that night was just the same,
as all nights before.

Only Ali was different.

Little Ali was bewildered,
cast under the spell- of the dreamy fish.

He wanted the fish of his dream.
He couldn’t stop- thinking about it.
That shiny little Fish, from then on,
possessed Ali’s mind.

“Hey Little Ali,
Hey Little Ali,
Don’t fidget so much!
Stay straight or you’re gonna fall!
If in your dream, it was a fish in a blue lake,
It was not real.
Don’t get confused: It was a vision.
Don’t spoil your day!”

“What is wrong with you?
What is your problem?
You are so healthy, you are so lucky,
Forget about that fish!”

“Listen to me!
Dreamy roads are not like reals-
with sidewalks and signs,
with light and asphalt.
In the dreams, you may get lost,
You may get hurt…
In the dreams, in dreamy roads-
there is no way back!”

“Look Little Ali!
You will grow up,
You will buy a car,
You will buy a house,
You may be a boss,
You may be famous,
You will be handsome,
You will travel,
All will be lofty.”

“Why don’t you play?
Don’t you have friends?
Don’t you like your toys?
Why are you so sad?”

“Hey Little Ali,
You went crazy!
You lost your mind,
What the heck the fish!
I don’t understand…”

“Hey Little Ali,
You are getting sick,
I am getting mad!
You are just spoiled.
I will punish you,
No ice cream, no bike, no party.”

“What the heck the fish?
Why do you need fish?
Fish is stinky,
Fish is gonna die,
It’s no worth a dime.
Go back to your bed,
Try to sleep!
And leave me alone.”


Water was upset,
pretty tired.
Water slowly-
was running off-
to the roof of Sky:

“Hey Little Ali,
You disappointed me!
Not everybody can dream about a shiny fish!
They dream about fries, chips and fish,
They dream about youthful ladies, wealthy gentlemen,
They dream about dress and necklace, about dogs and cars.”

“Whoever dreams about the fish, must go and get it!
Whoever dreams about the fish,
his days are filled up by billion stars.
He won’t see the sight,
He won’t need the light,
He won’t be able to sleep the night…

Hey Little Ali,
Don’t let me down!”


A butterfly was getting drowned.
Little Ali was listening to the water’s words.

It seemed that someone was calling Ali.
It seemed that a hand, a moist, smooth hand-
tapped on Ali’s back:

“Hey Little Ali,
Do you hear me?
One, two, three,
Jump in the water!”

“Hey little Ali,
Don’t you want to come?
I am the Shiny Fish.
Believe me Ali!
I am right here,
ynder the water”

“Hey Little Ali,
I waited for you,
Now it's a long time!

I’ll take you to Sea,
It is not that far,
It is not so hard.
I will take you there:
To Garden of pearls,
To Crystal palace,
To Mountains of light,
We will play there.”

“Believe me Ali,
If you don’t see them-
what is your life for?
If you don’t go there-
what is your time for?”

“Hey Little Ali,
I am getting sick,
in this dirty pool!
Make up you mind:
Either jump inside-
Or then never mind,
I’ll leave you behind!”


Sky got mad,
Storm started.
Water coiled upward.
Then suddenly,
gulped down Ali.

Silvery circles over the water’s face,
They turned and they turned.
Then blue bubbles,
took their place.

And at the end,
On the water's face-
of Little Ali- was left no trace!


- Where is Ali?
- I don’t care!

- What is he doing?
- I don’t dare:
“If you want to know,
jump in the water!”

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, May 2006, Montreal.

Comments about One Day Ali Told His Mom by Forough Farrokhzad

  • (3/15/2018 5:31:00 PM)

    very very very poor translation! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, December 29, 2011

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