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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.


Kizzie's picture

Hey there, Thanks for

Hey there,

Thanks for introducing us to this great poet. I've watched Neda's video many times. It still breaks my heart every single time!

This reminded me of an interesting article in the NY times.


sunita.basnet's picture

Wow!! Inspiring Poem

Dearest Janice,
Sanchai Hunu hun chha(How are you?) This poem is really an inspiring poem. Thanks for sharing with us. I cannot wait to read your post. Tonight I am going to post my biography please do not forget to comment.
I am forward to hear from you.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Maria de Chirikof's picture

higher truths

I love these lines:

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.

They speak of a much higher truth then people's wants and desires. What a beautiful poem that speaks of her strong spirit through difficult times!


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