Sohrab Sepehri was born in Kashan on October 7,1928; a very talented artist and a gifted poet, Sepehri shot to stardom with the publication of The Water’s Footfall which was subsequently followed by The Traveler and The Green Volume. Sepehri died of blood cancer in Tehran in 1980.
Sepehri is so popular with the Iranians that he is usually known by his first name ‘Sohrab’ as if he is a friend everyone knows and understands. Sohrab traveled beyond the normal trajectory of everyday meanings. He translated speech into a language hitherto unknown to the Iranians. A pioneer poet, he utilized western forms and deconstructed the normal way of poetry. His use of new forms in poetry makes him complicated to understand. Yet, readers find themselves so attached to him and his poetry that there remains no room for boredom. Readers are so immersed in his poetry that they sometimes forget the world of realities and experience a fresh recognition of man and the whole universe.
Sohrab was the Child of Nature. Just like a child nestled in the bosom of his mother, Sohrab finds rest in the bosom of nature. He regards great respect for nature and whatever is relevant to it. He looks at Nature and the creatures within it in the manner of a lover who sees no faults in his beloved. He is a true worshipper who loves God and His creatures, believing that one has to plant the flower of love in his heart for the entire universe. To Sohrab, love is everything.
Well-versed in Buddhism, mysticism and western traditions, he mingled the western concepts with eastern ones, thereby creating a kind of poetry unsurpassed in the history of Persian literature. To him, new forms are new means to express his thoughts and feelings. His poetry is, indeed, like a journey. Every time you read him you understand him differently. There is a bottomless ocean of meanings in his poetry.
Sohrab takes us into a journey of an unknown world where ugly things become beautiful and despised objects become a center of attention to the readers.
I don't know
Why a horse is a noble animal, and a dove is lovely
And why no one keeps a vulture.
I don't know why a clover should be inferior to a red tulip.
We need to rinse our eyes, and view things differently.
We should wash our words
To be both wind and rain.
In his worldview, beauty is not an abstract concept; it is created and strengthened by people. He follows Shakespeare in that there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. Therefore, he invites us to wash our eyes and view the world differently. Sohrab left us a miracle of words and meanings.
If you are coming to me,
I am beyond Oblivion.
Beyond Oblivion is a place
Where dandelions run into the veins of air,
Let's not soil the water:
Perhaps a pigeon is drinking down there
Or a thrush dipping its wing by a far thicket
Or a pitcher being filled in a village.
She was great
And belonged to the present time
And had affinity with all bright horizons.
And fathomed the language of the earth and water.
Past the border of my dream
The shadow of a morning glory
Had darkened all these ruins
What intrepid wind