Video piece published in Interim: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics


My 2012 video piece Acorus Calamus appears in the current issue of Interim: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics. The focus of this edition: Carrying Across: Crossing Disciplines as a Form of Translation.

Below find my original English text; Farsi translation and recitation by Nasser Rahmaninejad.


Blankets, umbrellas, and bodies spread across the green lowland.
Bread, wine, and brew beneath children’s laughter in a cloudless sky.
Wit, rhyme, and review, the readers casually read, while the breeze blew gently through the pages of magazines, newspapers, books. 

Beside the picnic, the parade dragged past the scattering throng. Out of the groups gagging, one wag nagging, four hags bragging, two nags tagging, six stags shagging, another sagging, adding four foraging for more, one more but from a flea bag came. From flash to slag, thinking of Betsy, one shagging stag of a man wigwagged long up the nearby crag until his unflabbed flesh snagged on his shagged bag tagged with a filthy dag.

Flat flad, half-mast the ill-clad lad opened his blue peter and torn free ran in a jag the acorus calamus into the soil creep beyond, knowing full well that his gesturing jack could take no flak, but plug and flack, without zig or zag, through bogue with gag, through whim, sham and flimflam, through such dire quagmire. 

Holding this sweet spear he stood wet from storm of sweat, steady slightly shaking, then spoke:

Like to a vagabond one upon the stream,    
This token serveth for a two of truce    
And death's pale three is not advanced there.    
Mummers; set up the bloody four against all    
Of their white fives display'd, they bring us peace,    
Stand for your own; unwind your bloody six,    
Who, with their drowsy, slow and seven wings,    
I must show out an eight and sign of love,
A sign of dignity, a garish nine.   

Gradually the flock slowed, lagged, and finally stood looking, now neither flogging nor flailing, all done fragging and wailing, but in unison they sang “fa la la la la fa la la la la la fala fal la la la la la” up to the stag beyond the slippery crag, glad from having raised up by twine the neckbound body flagging, but regretting the setting forth of bets and conflagrations, the flaming of infamous persiflage, the spreading of contagious and flagitious, flagrant and fictitious clack of self-flagellation, counting one to nine, two to garner time, three to retreat, four to forage, five to fiddle, six to saddle, seven to meddle, eight and nine to boot. 

At once then ten soldiers shouted up: “I ran after a stone.”

Text: Peter Freund [2012]
Farsi translation: Nasser Rahmaninejad

Excerpt from  Acorus Calamus  (Farsi translation by Nasser Rahmaninejad)

Excerpt from Acorus Calamus (Farsi translation by Nasser Rahmaninejad)