Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today's the birthday of Ahmad Shamlou....


Ahmad Shamlou, Iran's great poet of love and freedom, was born in Tehran on December 12, 1925, died there on July 24, 2000... after having been persecuted for his works and words under both the Shah and the Islamic Republic:

In this dead-end (July 1979)

They smell your mouth
To find out if you have told someone:
I love you
They smell your heart

Such a strange time it is, my dear

And they punish Love
At thoroughfares
By flogging.

We must hide our Love in dark closets.

In this crooked dead end of a bitter cold
They keep their fire alive
By burning our songs and poems;
Do not place your life in peril by your thoughts

Such a strange time it is, my dear

He who knocks on your door in the middle of the night,
His mission is to break your Lamp
We must hide our Lights in dark closets

Behold! butchers are on guard at thoroughfares
With their bloodstained cleavers and chopping-boards

Such a strange time it is, my dear

They cut off the smiles from lips
and the songs from throats

We must hide our emotions in dark closets

They barbecue canaries
On a fire of jasmines and lilacs

Such a strange time it is, my dear

Intoxicated by victory,
Satan is enjoying a feast at our mourning table

We must hide our God in dark closets.


I think my heart
Has never been
So warm and red:

I feel
In the worst minutes of this murderous night,
Thousands of sun-springs
Gush in my heart
Out of certitude.

I feel in every corner of this salt-marsh of despair
Thousands of fresh forests
Suddenly sprout
Out of the ground.

Oh lost certitude, you fleeting fish,
Slipping through the mirror's pools, fold by fold!
I am the lucent lagoon, lo!
Through the magic of love
Find a way towards me from the mirror's pools!


Children of The Depths

They thrive
In the town of no street
In the stale web of dead-end lanes
In the bath of smoke, drug and pain
Talisman in the pocket and stones in hands
The children of the depths
The children of the depths
They thrive.


The cruel swamp of fate in front
The curse of drained fathers on their back
Ears filled with their tired mothers’ blame
A void of hope and future in fists
The children of the depths
The children of the depths
They thrive.


They flourish
In the forest of no spring
On the trees of no yield
The children of the depths
The children of the depths
They chant with a bleeding throat
They hold a long invincible flag in their hands
The children of the depths
The Kaveh* of the depths



The English translations of "In this dead end..." and "Fish" quoted above are from, that of "Children of the depths" is from - both sites contain a rich collection of translations of Shamlou's poems together with biographic information.


Naj said...


I saw your comments regarding the letter written by "army generals and staff".

This letter is NOT related to the Iranian amy inside. The Iranian army inside is ALSO run by people who are heavily IRI-indoctrinated. Also, the opening of the letter:

"yazdan" is not something Iranian generals of today would use; this letter is generated abroad and inside IRan there is no mention of it. As Mark Pyruz has correctly noted, this is part of teh highly provocative moved the coupregime has been making in the past couple of days. They are preparing for a new level of confrontation; and in fact they want to bring out ALL opponents to the surface to be sure to eliminate them.

Naj said...

hmm I have so many terrible typos; but somehow the shift key seem to have acted up on me. Forgive.

Parvati said...

You may well be right - but I sincerely hope you're wrong, Naj!
There have been quite a few recent indications that there's a lot of support within the armed forces for the protest movement - amongst other things, on 7th Dec. on #Iranelection several reliable posters relayed news of solidarity-protests with anti-Khamenei slogans at a military base near Qom, later reported 50 of them had been arrested - so the loyalty to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad of non-IRGC armed forces could well be fragile-to-nonexistent. Plus never seen a country with "duplicate" armed forces where there aren't sharp inter-force rivalries - here it's state police vs carabinieri, their reciprocal jealousies are legendary. You think "Artesh" commanders are happy to see the IRGC shooting the people and grabbing all the economic goodies??? And even within the IRGC itself I've heard the coup-guys are a faction, not necessarily a majority - the war-veterans loathe the upstarts? Helluva-lot of guns there that could get pointed in a direction opposite to that of the coup-promoters = food-for-thought. So the article COULD be what in Italy we call "a tinkling of sabres"... with choice of Persian instead of Arabic word for God indicating strong Iranian nationalism + a tad of "Iran First" persianism taking an anti-Arabic direction? Plenty of that around, afaik?

Not saying it's genuine "for sure" Naj - of course you know your country a heck of a lot better than I do - but on universal-human-psychology grounds I still think it "maybe" could be - or could be a prod addressed TO the "artesh" armed forces themselves from inside them ???

Naj said...

Hi dear,

I have no doubt that significant portions of the army, the IRGC and even the Basij are against what ahmadinejad's unleashed on Iran. But these people do not have key position of power right now. this is why the response have been relatively tempered. I have repeatedly noted how the police refrains from beating people.

I am absolutely sure this statement is a fabricated one. But that this is a fabricated statement doesn't mean that the army is not of such opinion.

By the way, who is this mark in enduring America? I wish you took a look at his reactions to my comments; this kind of behavior makes me INCREASINGLY suspicious about this Enduring America blog. But I rarely glance at them--simply because I feel they are superficial hacks; but I may be judgmental.

Naj said...


Just one more thing: when I saw this statement about three days ago; I told a friend I PRAY THIS IS FALSE. Because this kind of a letter is a recipe for bloodshed. If the IRGC and teh army REALLY care for people and for Iran, they will NOT give such a winning ace to the fascist minority of thugs who are running Iran now.

The army has a lot of guns, but they are not going to start a civil war in Iran. This is why I get irritated by the enthusiasm expressed by people who do not know IRan very well and project their guesses and aspirations onto the national psychology--which in practice operates in a very different ways than accessible to non-Iranians.

This is a nation that has survived 2500 years of being conquered and being ruled by dictators, while CONTINUOUSLY rising from ashes. Even during the Shah regime, the army did not join the people by turning their guns on the ruling elite. They just turned their guns away from the people.

Naj said...

Oops sorry forgot to comment on Shamlu; just wanted to say that yeserday his wife announced the publication of two new books by him. There was a birthday celebration at his house, attended by poets and artists who commemorated him by poetry and music.