For Cheshmeh

by Majid Naficy

You cross your 't's and dot your 'i's

And there is no missing hump in your 'm's

You loop your 'y's, 'j'  and 'g's

And your words do not fall below the lines

Your paper shines like marble

And your words are deeply etched

As if you were a rock climber

Who pounds the nail in the rock

To make steady footholds.


Your father taught me rock climbing.

He had strong finger tips

And sharp eyes.

He placed the nails firmly

Passed the rope through the hooks

And climbed step by step.

When he reached the top of the cliff

He turned back and looked down

And a smile unknotted his brow.


You were born in prison

And your father never saw you.

But I recognized his daughter

When I saw your letter today:

Your sentences are short like a sigh

And sometimes they hit the heart

Like a bullet. 


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Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

What appeals to me most about Naficy's style is the sense that his words barely keep up with how much he feels. The handwriting he describes has a parallel in the poem itself in that the words do not "fall below the lines" and yet they come from a person who has suffered great tragedy.     Naficy's laments are quiet but delicately trembling, like trills on a setar. The compactness of this particular narrative is extraordinary. He gives us an image, a brief background, then a quick thrust into the heart.  The criticims I have of this poem are purely technical and have to do with word compactness, not narrative compactness. For example, " When he reached the top of the cliff/He turned back and looked down." We have already deduced he is on a cliff and we already know that looking down includes turning back. "When he reached the top he looked down," would have worked better for me, as I don't find a rhythmic or metaphoric justification for the extra words. 


Is it me?!!

by HM (not verified) on

I keep hearing your name as a good poet but never had the chance to read any of your pieces and this was the first one.

I wasn't able to relate but I'll keep looking to see more of your works.

Thanks for posting.

Ari Siletz

Emotionally jolting piece, Majid

by Ari Siletz on

A few rough spots, but we Persians are spoiled on poetic perfection. This poem is merely superb, awesome, splendid, breathtaking, and devastating.


So powerful and sad

by Monda on

Dear Mr. Naficy, your poem sits with me for a long time. Thank you for posting it for us here. 

Azarin Sadegh

Dear Majid,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Lovely and painful!

After reading Nafisi's "Things I've been silent about" (there are many references to you), your poetry moves me way more than before...

Thanks for sharing! Azarin 


Very nice poem!

by Souri on

Thank you dear Mr Naficy. This poem is very touching, very beautiful, very nice.


Excellent Majid!

by Mehman on

super beautiful! brought tears to my eyes....

short, intensive and effective like a bullet!

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Beautiful, beautiful.