Ali Salami

Sohrab Sepehri: The Death of Color [Marg-e Rang]

Sohrab Sepehri: The Death of Color [Marg-e Rang]

A hue beside the night

Has quietly and silently faded away.

A black bird, coming from distant ways,

Sings from the high roofs of the broken night.

Intoxicated with conquest,

This bird of sorrow has come.


In this defeat of color,

Has unraveled the thread of every melody.

Only the fearless twittering of a small bird

Adorns the ear of simple silence

With the earrings of echoes.


The black bird, coming from distant paths,

Sits on the high roof of the broken night,

As still as a stone.

Its gaze glides

Over the confused forms of his thoughts.

A strange dream troubles him:

Colorful flowers sprout from the floors of the night.

On the streets of scents,

The step of the breeze is halted by his walk.

With every moment, in search of deception, this bird of sorrow

Draws patterns with the help of its beak.


A bond is broken.

A dream is broken.

The dream of the land

Has forgotten the story of the blooming colorful flowers.

Silently one must go through the curve of this road:

A hue beside this boundless night has died.

Also by Sohrab Sepehri: In the Tar of Night [Dar Qir-e Shab]


© Ali Salami 2012

About Sohrab Sepehri

Sohrab Sepehri (October 7, 1928 – April 21, 1980) was an important Iranian poet and painter. He is considered one of the five most famous Iranian poets to have practiced modern poetry, alongside Nima Youshij, Ahmad Shamlou, Mehdi Akhavan-Sales and Forough Farrokhzad. Sepehri’s poems have been translated into several languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian and Kurdish. His collected poems have been translated into English by Iranian scholar Ali Salami.


Most of Sohrab Sepehri’s poems are written in the neo-poetry style. His poems have original and creative illustrations. By learning from Zen philosophy and his humanistic outlook, he arrived at a new style, of which “the green ribbon” is considered an evolution of his unique style. He created his artworks in seclusion and away from society; therefore, he chose the “village of Chenar” ” and the desert of Kashan to achieve his solitude. Sohrab Sephari’s poetry is full of original and fresh visions, which he describes with a soft, gentle, clear and coherent language. Some of his most famous poems are: Nashani, Sadye Paye Aab and Musafir, one of the longest Persian poems in the style of neo-poetry.


In painting, he was inspired by the esthetic achievements of the East and the West. He used such a new and different approach that his pea-shaped geometric forms and gray colors were different from all contemporary figurative painters. He had developed a concise, semi-abstract style suited to express his poetic revelations in the wilderness. Sepehri exhibited most of his paintings at the Seyhon Gallery” and never attended the opening ceremony. The more Sepaheri’s painting progressed, the less it appeared through the direct control of the brush, and in his last works it is more of an improvised behavior using non-traditional painting tools. His signature on his paintings is in Nastaliq script, which according to Morteza Momayez shows his humble and Iranian spirit. “Dead Nature” in 1957, “Anemones, Stream and Tree Trunk” in 1960, “Grass and Tree Trunk” in 1962, “Composition with Colored Stripes” in 1970, “Composition with Squares” in 1972 and “Desert Landscape” in 1978 are some of his most famous paintings. Sepehri holds the record for the highest price for modern Iranian paintings. In 2013, two of his paintings (Tree Trunks and an abstract painting) were sold for one billion and eight hundred million tomans.

When Sohrab Sepehri was diagnosed with leukemia in 1979, he went to England for treatment, but returned to Tehran hopelessly due to the severe course of the disease. He finally died on the evening of April 29, 1980 in Pars Hospital in Tehran and was buried in the courtyard of Imamzadeh Sultan Ali Ebn Mohammad Baqer in the village of Mashhad Ardahal near Kashan.

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