To a Skull

Your father moaned

like a mature cat

And your mother was thinking about

the pleasing pain of the end;

and that in her pathway

she must

wrap your swaddle clothes

around a humble fool;

Or perhaps she was in her motherly dream of

a tassel she would sew on your nightcap.



the swinging of your cradle

began from your father’s

moaning body.


The old graveyard

was hungry,

And the young trees

were snooping for manure_


All the stories are but this



the swinging of men and cradles

is nothing but a trifle.


Now, your skull




at all of those absurd strifes and struggles.

It laughs at

all that idiocy

that you

allowed yourself to do

in fear of death:


with chains around your feet,

and a yoke on your neck.


The Earth

has played you,


and our ancestors.

And now,

in waiting for the clumsy Jazz of Israfil to begin

nothing will be better than sneering.


But even when he starts to play,

I would not make a movement,

not even like cotton-beaters;

Because among all the instruments

much I disrelish the sound of the trumpet.


To a Skull

Ahmad Shamlou“To a Skull” [Original title: «به یک جمجمه»]
A poem by Ahmad Shamlou
Translated by myself
First published in Derafsh-e Mehr, a literary journal by the students of the University of Mazandaran
To a Skull
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