Name and Pedigree

Poet: Ali Akbar Natiq


You who ask my name and pedigree, listen


The old inscriptions on my ancestors’ graves

Whose writing proclaims the afflictions of passing days

Whose worn-out stones are damp-ridden, salt-ridden

And which remained fated to suffer the misfortunes of the age


Generation to generation, without exception, those ancestors of mine

Whose will was no different from their masters’ desires

While alive, when did they ever feature among the living

And upon death, their body was merely a burden


Who knew neither the school nor the battlefield

Who were neither oppressors, nor did they confront an oppressor

Who neither sought the throne, nor experienced the dungeon


You who ask my name and pedigree, listen

I am the living legacy of such gratuitous slaves


Translated by Zahra Sabri