An aged man, his beard white as snow,
having expended many years upon science and wisdom,
keen of eye like the Western sages,
his raiment like the robes of a Christian monk,
far on in years, yet tall of stature as a cypress, 1865
his features glowing like a Turk of Merv,
well-versed in the wont and way of every road,
the deep thoughts evident in his eyes,
seeing a man approaching, he opened like a flower
and spoke in the tongue of Tusi and Khayyam. 1870
‘A form of clay, prisoner to Quantity and Quality,
has come forth from the abode of Under and Over,
given flight to earth without aid of aircraft,
lent to the fixed stars the essence of the planet!’
His speech and comprehension flowed like a river; 1875
I was lost in stupefaction at his words:
is this all a dream, or a trick of magic?
Pure Persian proceeding from a Martian’s lips!
He continued: ‘In the time of the Chosen One
there was a Martian, a man pure of soul, 1880
who opened his world-beholding eyes on your world
and set his heart on travelling the confines of man.
He spread his wings in the vast expanses of being
until he alighted in the desert of Hejaz.
He wrote down all that he saw in East and West, 1885
his picture more colourful than the Garden of Paradise.
I too have been in Iran and Europe,
I have travelled in the realms of Nile and Ganges,
I have seen America and Japan and China,
investigating the metals of the earth. 1890
I have knowledge of earth’s nights and days,
I have journeyed through its lands and seas.
The tumults of Adam’s sons are open before me,
though man is not intimate with our labours.’


I am of the skies, my companion is of the earth, 1895
intoxicated, yet he has not tasted the veins of the vine;
a man intrepid, his name is Zinda-Rud,
his drunkenness derived from contemplating existence.
We who have chanced thus upon your city
are in the world, yet free from the world. 1900
In our quest for ever new apparitions
be our companion on the road for a little time.

The Martian Sage

These are the environs of Marghadin of Barkhiya—
Barkhiya is the name of our ancestor.
Farzmarz, the tempter to all evil, 1905
came up to Barkhiya once in Paradise;
‘How can you remain here content?’ he cried.
‘For many ages you have been dominated by God.
There is a world far better than your abode,
compared with which Paradise itself is but a moment’s springtide; 1910
that world is loftier than all other worlds,
that world is more sublime than spacelessness.
God Himself knows nothing of that world;
I have never seen a world more free.
God does not interfere in its ordering, 1915
it has no Book, no Prophet, no Gabriel,
no circumambulations, no prostrations there,
no prayers, no thanksgivings.’
Barkhiya replied, ‘Depart, you sorcerer,
pour your own image upon that world!’ 1920
Since our ancestor did not succumb to his guile
God entrusted to us another world.
So enter this God-given kingdom;
behold Marghadin and its laws and customs.