The present poem recounts the horrible events of
that nightmare of a night in a quasi-delirious,
almost hallucinatory fashion.
The brackets designate those moments when the
observer pauses the narrative to loudly protest the
painful scenes, which are taking place before the
Kristallnacht1: The Night of the Broken Glass
A Poem by: Jahāngir Sedāghatfar
Translated to English by Paymān Akhlāghi


Watch over the mothers!
Watch over the mother,
Whose fear-poisoned breast
Is feeding bitter milk
Into the mouth of the startled child.
Sacrilege and lunacy
Harden daggers
In the acerbity of blood.]
Watch over the newborns
—These fragile hopes of a better tomorrow;
Watch over them, please,
For the sake of God;
His Will was never meant
To cleanse the temple’s altar
By the ablution of the virgins’ blood.
[This is no more
The scent of the incense,
Page 2 of 5
Or the fragrance of the oudh,
Which passes now,
On the wings of the wind,
Over the dark alleys of the night.]

Through the long fear of the mortiferous night,
We saw
The ignorance-tainted blindness of contempt
—That onset
Of the return
Of the slaughter, the crime—
So vividly, in our sight;
And we listened
’Til the jubilant cries of the drunkards
Merged with those supplicant pleas
That asked in tears,
“I beg thy forgiveness,
Oh, Thou, the Almighty God…”

And why,
At this autumn night,
When deciduous trees shed leaves,
There sprang, everywhere,
Red poppies, these flowers of love,
From the faint cold of the soil;
There bloomed red poppies,
From the callous heart
Of history’s
Stone-paved road.

Look, now!
Page 3 of 5
Look, how
The ghosts of shrouded holy men
Are saving Jehovah’s name
—Which shineth brightly whence
The columns of the holy scrolls—
From the raging fire of hatred’s flames.
[This deceitful light of the fire
At the heart of this pitch-black dark
Couldn’t have ever been taken
As the glowing rays of
Shechina2—God’s Holy Light.]

Canst thou hear
The dreadful wail
Of the shofar3, crying
From the hilltops of Gilead?

These corps after corps of the ghosts,
Are the wandering souls,
Who’ve lost their graves,
Even as themselves
Were once victims—
These white-clad crowd,
Who’ve now risen
From the ruins
Of the unmarked tombs
Of centuries past.
The rebel martyrs of bygone ages,
At last,
The roar of their cries
Would stir
The colossal heart of God.]

And at long last,
The trace of the crimson thread
Page 4 of 5
Joins now
The frigid cold of the gates of a heart
Devoid of the grace of love’s shining light,
A heart, itself
Forever drowned
In the ice-melt of its own blood.

But may the hands
Of the vicious hangmen
Forever be
Heavy with pain,
Who by the slingshot of their fists
—Filled with the fossils of ancient hate—
Broke down,
So sudden,
That night,
The silence
Of the crystal of kindness
Off of the blue calm
Of heaven’s dome.

This is no more
The scent of the incense,
Or the fragrance of the oudh,
Which passes now,
On the wings of the wind,
Over the dark alleys of the night…
Jahangir Sedaghatfar
Tiburon, November 1997
English translation: Los Angeles
November 2008, Payman Akhlaghi
Page 5 of 5
1 Kristallnacht— “The Night of the Broken Glass”: On November 9th, 1938, late in the evening, according
to plans long laid in advance, an organized wave of anti-Semitic violence was launched all over Germany.
During this wide-spread pogrom, the Jewish people were attacked in the streets with hammers and axes,
and a large number of them were beaten to death. Synagogues and holy books were set on fire, and the
glass panes of Jewish-owned stores in all cities were broken into pieces. The silence of the night was
broken by the screeching wail of the glass and the ignorant anger of the Nazi mercenaries; hence, the name
by which that dark, frightful night came to be known.
2 Shechina (or Shekhinah): In the Jewish belief, it signifies the Divine Presence, especially in the Temple
of God. This word is generally associated with the bright light that is believed to have emanated from the
3 Shofar: The traditional Jewish “horn”, generally made of the horns of ram, which is played at festivities.
Its penetrating sound inspires a strong sense of awe in the listener.


© 1997, 2003, 2008: Jahangir Sedaghatfar. All rights reserved.
© 2008: Payman Akhlaghi, English translation. All rights reserved.


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