Travel safely

Mohammad-Reza Shafi'i Kadkani

illustratie: lees in nederlands

Goede reis

‘Waarheen zo haastig?’

vroeg het riet aan de bries.

‘Mijn hart raakt bedrukt op deze plaats,
heb jij geen lust om te reizen,
weg van het stof van deze woestijn?’

‘Dit is al wat ik verlang,
maar wat kan ik doen,
mijn voeten zijn geketend…’

‘Waarheen zo haastig?’

‘Naar waar ik ook thuis ben,
maar niet hier.’

Moge jij in vriendschap met God gaan.
Wanneer je ongedeerd deze huiveringwekkende woestijn bent gepasseerd,
breng de regen,
de bloesems
een groet van ons.’

Vertaling: Asghar Seyed-Gohrab


Listen to this poem in Farsi.
Voiced by: Bahar Soohani

illustratie: stadsverhalen

Stories from Leiden

At a corner of Lange Mare, an Iranian poem climbs the wall. It wishes passers-by a safe trip. The poem escaped the censorship of the Sjah, disguised as a mythological Persian allegory. It could be about death or the unattainable. Or maybe it is about freedom. The poem was signed by the poet himself. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab and Heleen Hörmann were present for it. Ashgar left Iran in 1986. Heleen works for Vluchtelingenwerk (refugee aid). They brought the poem and poet to Leiden, the old Dutch city of free speech. Words need to circulate. A passer-by reads the poem. Then he moves on. The poem wants to come along, but its letters are stuck to the wall. The traveller sets off, like a leaf in the wind. The poem is seeded in his head.

Photography: Patricia Nauta
Text: Joop van Gerven

illustratie: ik heb een verhaal bij dit gedicht

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Does this poem hold a special place in your heart? For example, do you remember when you first read the poem? Or did you come across it someplace unexpected? Let us know! We would love to add your story to our website.

illustratie: gedicht in leiden

Kadkani in Leiden

Photo Anoesjka Minnaard

illustratie: lees dit gedicht in het engels

Travel safely

‘Where are you going, in such hurry?’

The desert-thorn asked the wind.

‘My heart is torment here -
don’t you want to get away?
From this dusty desert?’

‘It’s all I long for, but
what can I do, with my feet tied like this…’

‘Where are you going in such a hurry?’

‘Wherever it may be, except here, where I am.’

‘Travel safely then! But my friend, I beg you,
When you have passed safely from this brutal wasteland,
And reached blossoms, and the rain,
Greet them from me.’