“Luna II” (1979) by Catharine McAvity
If I Should Gaze Upon Your Face
Translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by 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 holds an MA in engineering. He completed Stanford University’s fiction writers’ program, and is currently working on a Master’s in creative writing and English literature at Harvard. Shahin serves as the staff translator for e*lix*ir. He was recognized as a finalist in the prestigious Willis Barnstone Translation Contest for his translation of one of Rumi’s poems. He has translated poems by W. B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot into Persian as well as various classical and contemporary Persian poets into English. Shahin’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries. In his spare time, he paints in the impressionist style, draws portraits in charcoal, and plays the Spanish guitar.
Sandra Lynn Hutchison
Bio: Sandra Lynn Hutchison serves as editor-in-chief of e*lix*ir, which she founded in 2015 to showcase art that celebrates the power of spirit. She is the author of a memoir, Chinese Brushstrokes (Turnstone Press), numerous essays, as well as two books of poetry: The Art of Nesting (GR Books) and a forthcoming volume, The Beautiful Foolishness of Things, which was a finalist for the Poet’s Corner Chapbook Contest in 2022. Hutchison holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Toronto and has been the recipient of various academic and literary awards, including the Emily Dickinson Poetry Prize from Universities West Press. She lives in Orono, Maine, where she teaches scriptural exegesis and mentors writers in the courses in creative writing she teaches through the Wilmette Institute in Chicago. She also serves as faculty for the BIHE (Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education).