My Father's Memoir (1959)
by Ali Karim (1931-1969 )
He was tough. When I used to hurry to class,
He never wanted me to see him watching me.
He never did talk about his feelings
And never did show how much he cared about his children.
Sometimes he stared at me secretly and smiled
Sometimes he did nothing but smoke heavily,
For him to sacrifice himself for his children,
Was a thousand times easier than telling us "jan"*.
His heavy, hard working, tough hands,
Would embrace my shoulders as fate.
As a rising sun, some thoughts
Would brighten up his face in a moment.
His love was cold, too - like a thick layer of snow,
Which protects fresh seedlings from the winter frost.
I was studying in Moscow,
He left me forever.
When the time for the Eternal Partition came,
He wished I were there beside him,
Then he changed his mind and
Didn't want me to know about it.
He was ashamed by his death.
Oh, why did he do it, why so much suffering?
Once I had such a father.
* "Jan" in Azeri is a term of endearment, meaning "soul".
Translated by Aynura Huseinova and Ulviyya Mammadova.
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