Iran's National Poet Speaks Out
NPR's Davar Ardalan interviewed Simin Behbahani, Iran's national poet, today from Tehran. She's 82 years-old and one of the most respected figures in modern Iran. She recites two poems inspired by recent events -- one dedicated to the people of Iran and another to Neda, the woman whose death during the protests was viewed by millions on the web and on TV.
If the flames of anger rise any higher in this land
Your name on your tombstone will be covered with dirt.
You have become a babbling loudmouth,
Your insolent ranting, something to joke about.
The lies you have found, you have woven together.
The rope you have crafted, you will find around your neck.
Pride has swollen your head, your faith has grown blind.
The elephant that falls will not rise.
Stop this extravagance, this reckless throwing of my country to the wind.
The grim-faced rising cloud will grovel at the swamp's feet.
Stop this screaming, mayhem and bloodshed.
Stop doing what makes God's creatures mourn with tears.
My curses will not be upon you, as in their fulfillment.
My enemies' afflictions also cause me pain.
You may wish to have me burned, or decide to stone me.
But in your hand match or stone lose their power to harm me.
[Simin Behbahani, June 2009; Translated by Kaveh Safa and Farzaneh Milani]
Poem for Neda Agha Soltan
You are neither dead, nor will you die.
You will always remain alive.
You have an external existence.
You are the voice of the people of Iran.