“Luna II” (1979) by Catharine McAvity
If I Should Gaze Upon Your Face
Translated by Shahin Mowzoon with Sandra Lynn Hutchison
If I should gaze upon your face
And our eyes meet, yours and mine,
I would recount my sorrows then —
Trace each point, each verse, each line.
Oh how I yearn to see your face!
As zephyrs blow to search, to find,
From house to house, from door to door,
Each street, each path, each hidden place.
How your remoteness rends my heart!
My blood flows forth like rivers, seas
the color of your comely lips,
From fount to fount, from stream to stream.
Your honeyed cheeks, always in bloom,
Offer up such sweet perfume,
Your mouth, your eyes, that noble brow,
Your love has caught that dove — my soul!
Affinity — heart with heart,
Deep well of kindness, being’s core,
Affections my sad heart must weave
Into the fabric of my soul,
Strand by strand, twine by twine,
Thread to thread, with textures fine.
In her heart Tahirih sought
And found naught
Within each leaf, each fold, each veil,
within was you
and only you
within was always you.
Artist Statement: With respect to translation, Dr. Soheil Bushrui used to say you should study the works of others, draw upon them, but still do your own work. It is my belief that every additional translation, each fresh rendering of a work, only adds another perspective. The work of translation is like painting: different artists can paint the same scene, but render it differently, according to their unique angle or view. And while one person will paint the scene in oils, another will paint in watercolors,and a third will create a sculpture. Translation is like that: each individual renders the original according to his or her own understanding of the words and their meaning.
Bio: Shahin Mowzoon has translated the works of T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats into Persian and the works of Rumi into English. One of his translations of Rumi was chosen as a finalist for the Evansville University Barnstone Translation Prize. Shahin has also been published in engineering and scientific journals and translated songs for performing artists. He has worked as adjunct faculty and as a data scientist and researcher whose work spans a variety of disciplines.