Monday, 3 August 2009

Iran - a poem

I've met Majid through a poem. I had written an article a few months ago for on Tehran authorities destroying the site of mass graves the district of Khavaran in southeast Tehran. In these unmarked graves lie thousands of political prisoners killed by the Islamic regime in the 1980s - most of them during a secret mass massacre in the summer of 1988. In response, Majid sent me a poem.

Since then, he has sent me more poems, punctuating the events in his native country, creating something beautiful out of pain and violence. I love them. Here is his latest offering:

A Poem: Three Gifts
by Majid Naficy

Published on July 29 in Foreign Policy in Focus in response to the repression and violence in Iran

In Memory of Saeed

One day my father called us and said:
I have three gifts for you —
A red heart, an hourglass, and...
O God, I don't remember the other one.

Mehdy took the heart
Opened its two halves
And strummed the strings of its chambers.

I took the hourglass
And along its white sands
I fell from one half to the other
Asking myself:
What can be done in three minutes?

And Saeed
At age ten went to Paris
For heart surgery
And at age twenty-nine

He was executed in Tehran.
I remember him.
He had red cheeks
And strong hands.

March 1994

Majid Naficy, who is the author of more than 20 books written in Persian, fled Iran in 1983, a year and a half after the execution of his wife Ezzat in Tehran. He has published two collections of poetry "Muddy Shoes" (Beyond Baroque Books 1999) and "Father and Son" (Red Hen Press 2003) as well as his doctoral dissertation "Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature" (University Press of America 1997) in English. He lives in Los Angeles.

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