Older than My Father
by Bakhtiyar Vahabzade (born 1925)

My granddad died
When he was 80,
My dad - when he was 60.
But I am older
In my forties
Than both my father
And my grandfather.

They load the days and load the months
And every hour and every minute...
Condense the world, whose day is to the right,
And to the left-the night- Into one tiny room,

With Spring at your head,
and Winter - at your feet...
Continents, poles Are united by my speed.

In the heat and the flame
Of this speed,
Of this audacity,
My love And my very nature Have changed...
The greater the speed,
The shorter the distance.
Yesterday borrows minutes from today

And today -
From tomorrow.
The days are all mixed up,
And so are the months,
We have lost months,
economizing years.

In a single month I live as much
As my granddad did in a single year.
I'm a river flowing down a mountain,
Skirting the mountain peak,
A stream muddy in the mountains
And a clear river in the valley -
A river with hundreds of different moods.

I'm older than my father.
I'm older than my grandfather.

Translated by Louis Zellikoff
"Azerbaijanian Poetry,"
Edited by Mirza Ibrahimov,
Progress Publishers: Moscow. 1969

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