Ali Salami

The Sin (Gonah) by Forough Farrokhzad

The Sin (Gonah)

I have sinned, a sin full of pleasure,

In an embrace that was warm and fiery.

I sinned in arms

That were eager, vengeful and steely.

In this dark and silent sanctuary,

I gazed into his eyes full of secrets.

My heart trembled restlessly in my breast

At the longing of his needy gaze.

In this dark and silent sanctuary,

I sat despondently at his side.

His lips poured their desire on mine,

And from the sorrow of a mad heart I rose.

I whispered the lament of love in his ear:

“I desire you, my soulful beloved,

I desire you, O life-giving embrace,

You who are madly in love with me.”

Desire ignited flames in his eyes,

Red wine danced in the goblet.

My body, in the middle of the soft bed,

Trembled drunkenly against his breast.

I sinned, a sin full of pleasure,

Beside a trembling, intoxicated body.

O Lord, what do I know what I have done,

In this dark and silent sanctuary.

@ Ali Salami 2010

About Forough Farrokhzad

One of the leading modern poets of Iran, Forough Farrokhzad was born and brought up in a military family. She married Parviz Shapur, the well-known Iranian satirist at the age of 16. The following selection has been translated by Ali Salami.

Forough Farrokhzad learned painting and sewing and moved to Ahvaz with her husband. Thence she started corresponding with well-known magazines; her first volume of poetry “The Captive” came out in 1965. The Captive was a romantic collection widely influenced by Fereydoon MoshiriNader Naderpour, and Fereydoon Tavallali. Later on, her books “The Wall” and “The Rebellion” were published in the same poetic mood.

In 1962, Forough Farrokhzad went to Tabriz and made a film entitled “The House is Black” about the lepers’ colony which bagged numerous international awards. In 1963, she published her fourth volume of poetry “Another Birth” which was indeed another birth in the modern Persian poetry.

Forough Farrokhzad

Her long poem “Let us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season” was published posthumously which is beyond doubt the best-structured modern poem in Persian. Her collected poems are a perfect prototype of modern Persian poetry.

Forough Farrokhzad died in a car accident at the age of 32 on February 14, 1967.

Forough Farrokhzad was a lonely woman as professor Hillman suggests. This sense of deep solitude and isolation was largely imposed by the society where she lived.

Forough accepted this bitter feeling of isolation as an essential part of her feminine being.


In my little night creeps an anguish of ruin.


Do you hear Darkness blowing?

I view this felicity in the attitude of a stranger

I am addicted to my despair.

Despondent though she is, she is waiting for a messiah to come and liberate her from this sense of loneliness with the power of love.


O Green from sole to crown!

Place your hands in my loving hands

Like a blazing memory!

Deeply immersed in grief, Forough is like a drowning man clutching at any straw. Sometimes she takes on such a spiritual tone that you’d think she was a holy woman. But at other times she is so weary of waiting that she loses patience and lets out a loud cry of protest against heaven and earth, in the attitude of someone who has lost the solid ground of faith and can barely see a spark of hope from the divine source.

Forough excludes the possibility of true love and attacks the male-dominated society in which a woman is seen only as an object of sexual gratification and not as a being endowed with human feelings.


With a voice so false, so strange

One can cry:

“I love”

In the domineering arms of a man

One can be a pretty healthy female.

Forough defies social conventions and struggles to free herself from the so-called shackles that muzzle the free female voice in a traditional society. Her poetry exposes a voice trapped in a patriarchal society where women have little opportunity or freedom to express their innermost repressed feelings and desires. At the risk of being ostracized, she creates an unabashedly feminine poetry. Early critics reacted very differently to her poetry. For some, her poetry was an expression of a troubled soul, for others it was merely a bold attempt to rebel against social norms. After her tragic death, however, critics began to pay serious attention to the esthetic aspects of her work and her poetic courage.

Forough sees poetry as a mission for which she sacrifices her role as a mother and abandons her family and her only son. She feels that only through poetry can she live her life and give meaning to her existence. Her complete poems have been translated into English by Iranian scholar Ali Salami.

Forough left a precious legacy of poetry though she lived only a brief life. Forough Farrokhzad is often compared with Sylvia Plath

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *