Sunday, December 27

A Belated Merry Christmas, and a timely Happy New Year to you

Alden Nowlan (1933-1983)




In Those Old Wars


In those old wars
Where generals wore yellow ringlets
and sucked lemons at their prayers,
other things being equal
the lost causes were the best.

Lee rode out of history
On his gray horse, Traveller,
so perfect a hero
had he not existed
it would have been necessary to invent him—
war stinks without gallantry.

An aid, one of the few who survived,
told him,
Country be damned, general,
For six months these men
have had no country but you.

They fought barefoot
and drank blueberry tea.

The politicians
strung up Grant
like a carrot,
made him a Merovingian.
They stole everything,
even the coppers from Lincoln’s dead eyes.

In those days, the vanquished
Surrendered their swords like gentlemen,
The victors alone
Surrendered their illusions.
The easiest thing to do for a Cause
is to die for it.





Sunday, December 20

“Getting to know you!”




Yes, that’s the title of this note. And, why such a title, you may ask? Well, why not?! It is as good as any subjects you would wish to pick. And since I heard it uttered by a man who was serious about “getting to know” a woman, I thought that it might be a good subject to write a few sentences about. The reason: well, to be quite frank with you, it always baffles me, when people claim that they would like to or wish to “get to know” someone. Because, really, how do you “get to know” someone? And what is that which you call “getting to know” someone? And finally, can you claim that you have gotten to know yourself so well that now you wish to “get to know” the others too?

“Getting to know you,” you silly, silly man!

The man seemed to be well-established—fancy shoes, fancy suits, even fancy vocabulary—polite, interesting, and of course, powerful. He had that thing about him that made the people around him aware of his presence in the room. The woman, she radiated charm and expressed nothing but interest. Bright, red mouth wide open, showing the pearl of the teeth, staring into his eyes, knowing that he was in it, she was enjoying her moment. After all, he wanted to “get to know” her, an impressive task. And why the hell not? She seemed to have everything going for her. Young, exuberant, mysterious, daring, playful, she was the very thing, that which had to be known to the other. And he seemed to be a good catch anyway. A head full of hair, tall, dark and handsome, he seemed such a perfect catch! It was happening in a gathering at a friend’s house
.

“Getting to know you,” you silly, silly man!

A few of us believed that providence had been at work, but a few of us believed that if that were the case, then the providence was at wrong. But in the scheme of the things, we did not matter. For during the dinner, the process of “getting to know” the other had escalated to a level of intensity that a few of us, including the writer of this note, felt that “love and drama” were definitely in the air!



“Getting to know you,” you silly, silly man!

Coffee-time was now approaching. A few of us congregated in the sunroom, a good opportunity to smoke our cigarettes and share the thoughts on that particular event that
was unfolding in front of our own eyes. Alas, she joined us for a fag. Disappointment all the way, we thought. But, how wrong were we! As soon as her cigarette was lit, she started to talk. And, lo! What a revelation it was!


“Getting to know you,” you silly, silly man, if only you knew yourself!

Katayoun

Sunday, December 6

Sunrise


WWW.Allposters.com
This week’s poem, Sunrise, is by a very famous Tudor Queen Elizabeth I. Read it, slowly, that’s how you should read any kind of poetry in any written language you can decipher, and see the depth of the self-revelation of a powerful female monarch, whose loyalty to what was under her care surpassed her care for her “other self”.




Sunrise


“I grieve, yet dare not show my discontent;
I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate;
I dote, but dare not what I ever meant;
I seem stark mute, yet inwardly do prate;
I am, and am not—freeze and yet I burn,
Since from myself my other self I turn.

My care is like my shadow in the sun—
Follows me flying—flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lives by me—does what I have done,
This too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be suppressed.”

Sunday, November 29

How to spot "an idiot"!


How do you spot an idiot?

At a friend’s house a curious friend of a friend asked me, “How do you spot an idiot?”
I wish I could strike back, “What kind of a stupid question is that?!” Instead, I paused for a moment, and then replied calmly, “What’s your definition of ‘an idiot’?”


“An idiot is someone who looks for trouble, when there is no need to look for it” said a friend who sat to the left of the curious friend.

The curious friend did not budge out, “well, I must agree with you, because you know what you are talking about. In fact, ‘an idiot’ is what ‘an idiot’ does”.

“You think you can ridicule me, intimidate me, and you turn dirty trick on me, in front of all these people? If you want to fight, then fight like a fighter not a coward,” cried the angry friend.

“Why can’t you be civilized and let go of your absurd hostility?” shouted a frustrated mutual friend.

“For the love of god don’t spoil the evening!” yelled another frustrated mutual friend.

“We haven’t any interest to be involved in your fight. Grow up, both of you. Really” another guest cried loudly.

“And you call yourselves intellectuals?” again the frustrated mutual friend vented out.

It was a shouting match, for at least a good half hour they all wrangled and wrestled, verbally. It was absurd. The host, who had kept it quiet the whole time, was now angry; his face the colour of the wine he was serving mercilessly, his eyebrows frowned, and as he sat beside me he muttered under his lips, “Every time the same shit hit the ceiling. This time, this fucking nonsense, but there will be no next-time. I’m done with it, you’ll see. Next time they will see who the idiot is”. I could see his point.

“Calm down, you boys,” said a female friend, “you have spotted at least a few idiots, tonight! Beside, there are ladies in this room, not gladiators. Suppress your anger for a while, and release it somewhere else, later tonight”.

A few minutes later, the boys were all calm, and the ladies…

Thursday, November 19

A Slumber did my spirit seal


A slumber did my spirit seal:
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.


William Wordsworth

Friday, November 13

Some talk!




Call me selfish, but I want to live a long life, and because hearing or reading “the news” will shorten its span, therefore I have decided to be done with the news! The day I made my decision I thought to myself, I have a right to live life and enjoy it, so why should I have to upset my stomach by reading the news at 6:30 a.m. when I am trying to swallow my breakfast and run out to work?

Recently, I am the only person in our house that dumps the papers—thee daily-papers—into the waste-paper-recycling-basket located in our basement. Done with those damned papers, I read them no more! Well, that’s just a rhetorical damnation. Because I still read the news. It is my luck that someone always digs the papers out of the waste-paper-basket, as soon as I am out of their sights, and as they read along its columns they highlight some lines and words, names, and even advertisings, only to draw my attention to the papers, when later on I see them on my desk! Yes, they leave the papers on my desk, as if my wish and promise does not mean anything! I suppose they do it out of charity and good will! They know that at night, I will scan the papers, even if it is only for a few minutes short of an hour!

The bizarre thing is that, people in general don’t believe me when I tell them that I do not wish to hear the news, and therefore they ignore my wish. Respect? Well, listen to this: I have even tried to explain to them that even if the news is a good one (which never is) please don’t inform me of it, instead try to keep the good news to yourself, because I don’t want to hear about it. But they ignore my wish and go about their business of informing me of This and That.

At work, my colleagues are news-eaters. They cannot spend an hour in a day without receiving their proper dose of the news, national or international it won’t matter they must know the news. If reading the paper is too much, they’ll try to watch it on TV or hear it on the air or read it while on the net. Silly, I know, but try to deprive them from eating their news, they’ll sue your ass, and go on hunger-strike in front of the UN headquarter in New York.

Anyway, listen to this:
A colleague asked me today, “Did you hear the news?”

“The news about what?”

“The hostage-taking in Iran and all that has followed and is about to follow. Really, you are an Iranian and you don’t read the news about Iran?

Aha, thought I, you need to argue.

“That’s news to you, my friend?” asked I.

“Oh, come on. It is the government of Iran…” And on and on for more than ten minutes the colleague foamed at the mouth, and by “providing” substantial evidence (like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his top-hat, in a jiffy he pulled out a file containing newspaper’s clips out of his drawer) tried to convince me that “the Islamic Republic of Iran has a point, and that point is made very clear”!

Oho, is that so?!

“How well-done! How marvelously well-done!” said I calmly, “you’ve unraveled the truth, my friend. And to answer your question about my not-reading-the-news-about-Iran, well, it upsets my delicate digestive system and attacks my nerves”.

“That’s just a nonsensical respond,” said my agitated colleague.

“What’s nonsensical? Digestive trouble in North America? That’s a continental ailment, my friend”.

“That’s a patronizing little-big-talk. Don’t you see, it is your government’s fault”.

“What do you mean my government? Oh, wait a minute! Are you suggesting that Mr. Harper has had any hand in it?!”

That was a blow below the belt. A very long pause and a peace-making colleague smiled, “Oh, you’re jokers, both of you! What’s this nonsense about the news? Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves for being bitchy this morning. Let the Americans solve their own issues, while we enjoy our international fame as peace-makers. Vivre au Canada. Let’s purchase
The Bishop Man and talk about the innocent souls carrying the guilt of their brethrens.

So, at night, I skim through the news: Two murders in the city. No vaccine for the homeless. Some cries over vaccination of the detainees in Afghanistan. Chavez’s recent jokes. Prince Charles and his wife’s cold reception in the province of Quebec. Obama’s performance. Oil’s down. Interest rates are up. We are badly screwed!



Good night!

Friday, October 30




















Irving Layton (1920-2006)

From Colony to Nation

A dull people,
but the rivers of this country
are wide and beautiful

A dull people
enamoured of childish games,
but food is easily come by
and plentiful

Some with a priest’s voice
in their cage of ribs: but
on high mountain-tops and in thunderstorms
the chirping is not heard

Deferring to beadle and censor;
not ashamed for this,
but given over to horseplay,
the making of money

A dull people, without charm
or ideas,
settling into the clean empty look
as into a legacy

One can ignore them
(the silences, the vast distances help)
and suppose them at the bottom
of one of the meaner lakes,
their bones not even picked for souvenirs.

Saturday, October 24

Oh, those characters!

After a long time, I now know that to enjoy life as much as one can, one must look at some people as characters. However poorly or richly a character is developed, he or she is the salt of life; without them life would be a dull thing.
Whether a pompous ass or a jealous mutt, or a successful self-made-type-of-a-lowest-cast-of-mind, or a self-proclaimed authority on some sort of a shim-sham, these characters are as real as the reality of life is. And therefore, it would be ignorant of us to dismiss or disregard them, just based on our own dislike of their suspicious development. Having said that, tolerating them is even more difficult than understanding their development, if that happen to be too rich for our taste. Nevertheless to enjoy life one must endure, tolerate and accept things.

That was all I wanted to say for tonight!

Katayoun

Saturday, October 17

Fear no more th heat o’ th’ sun


A poem for you? No, a poem for both of us. Something to take us away from all that is unreal, that has us in its grips, that we need a great poet to release us from its hold. Yes, someone with a rhythmic imagination, who rhymes in meaning, will give you what you want to hear! You don’t agree? Oh, well, hear what Master Shakespeare has for you.



Fear no more th heat o’ th’ sun

Fear no more the hear o’ th’ sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta’en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ th’ great
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke,
Care no more to clothe and eat,
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash.
Nor th’ all-dreaded thunder-stone.
Fear not slander, censure rash.
Thou hast finish’d joy and moan.
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave!





Katayoun

PS: Design by Katayoun


Saturday, October 10

The Old Wisdom



My maternal grandmother used to tell me that, “the way you treat your parents is the way they have treated theirs,” and life has never showed me otherwise. We learn from our parents, from our society, from our traditions, from our religious beliefs, but we may as well choose to put our learning to use, carefully.

The other day I was at a shop, where women buy hosieries and stuff like that, and I encountered something that reminded me of the truthfulness behind my grandmother’s wisdom, which had an ironic tone to it.

There were four customers, beside me, in that shop, and there were four sales persons trying to pitch their sales. I was at the section, where cashmere socks are hung, and let me tell you there is nothing more luxurious in life than wearing a pair of cashmere socks, suitable to protect your feet -your second heart—against the brutal cold of the Canadian weather. Anyway, as I was talking to a sales person about the price of a pair of a cashmere I had in hand, there entered into the shop a flamboyant figure of a woman, with a greatly designed black-goat- leather hat on her auburn hair, a velvet green jacket that gracefully adorned her great figure, and a pair of reading glasses that looked very elegant on her long nose. She looked impressive to everyone, for we all noticed her, each in our own way.

She walked across the aisle where the knee-highs were hung, a sale- person responded to the move and greeted her nicely. Within a few moments the sale-person was at the manager’s corner, perhaps, reporting about the failure of a possible sale, while the flamboyant customer walked towards me with two pairs of socks in her right hand, and asked me, “What do you think," she didn't pause for an answer, and continyed, "do you think they are too much for a mother, who is in a retired house?”

It took me a second to respond, “Well, they’re really funky”. She looked at me for a second and turned around as if I did not exist. this is not swell, I thought ! But again, I had a feeling that she must be one of those tough-looking people, whose heart is aching. And I was right! A few seconds later, again she walked towards me, this time with three pairs of socks in hand, dangling them into my face, and asked me rather rudely “how do you like these?”
“Well, I think they are rather colourful for a mother who resides in a dull establishment. She can use some colours in her life. We all can, even though some of us don’t deserve a colourful life”. When I was uttering those words, a voice in my head was keep telling me to shut up, but I am always prone to listen to the “other” one that tells me to go on. And it was not a mistake to utter those words, for what came out of it, was having a pleasant conversation over a cup of delicious coffee with a new friend.

It is strange how we think of our parents and what they do to make us who we are. We are their products, just as they were the products of their previous generations. We do what they do, or what they couldn’t; it has always been that way. We may make or break a rule, but we may never get away from what we have learned in the process. But, we may reserve the right to set up our own rules, to bend theirs, and in the process learn that life is made up of passing moments.

Saturday, September 26

Autumn

John Keats Tombstone



I love autumn in Ontario. One glance at the colourful foliage in autumn makes you believe that, although autumn is considered to be the middle-age of the four-seasons, it is as glorious as any season of the year. There is something about autumn that has everything to do with the majestic turning of the leaves. And what turning is that! If autumn were not as colourful as it is in Canada, then I would have had found the winters absolutely unbearable.

And now, hear John Keats’ To Autumn:



To Autumn


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the ground, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
more…

Tuesday, September 15

A Canadian Point of View



I wish I could trust Mr. (former professor/lecturer/author) Michael Ignatieff, but I can’t. I mistrust this precious Canadian Elitist and his supporters. Although I have to admit that he, Mr. Ignatieff, has a great potential to be the “next Charismatic Leader” of Canada. Only if he had what Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau (In Office: 1968-1979) possessed. Alas, some people are not the whole package.

I wish our scholars could learn from that famous Doctor Faustus. Goethe or Marlowe, the scholar is in the grip of Mephistopheles. And God save us from our own demons, the Mephistopheles within us.


Katayoun

Saturday, September 12

Breaking my promise


In life, we make many promises, and sometimes we break some of them. Not a problem. We are human, and thus we’re obliged to be true to our biological make-up and prove ourselves capable of changing our minds, swaying to our own tunes, and breaking our own promises. Now, having said that, I have to break a promise that I made to myself a little while ago, and talk, even in brief, about the glory of Revolutionists in Islamic Republic of Iran. And why do I break my own promise of not writing about the political shenanigans in that country? Because I know that you want to know what I think about the recent events.


So, here is what I think. That even though “the leaders of the opposition” in Iran are a selected group of seasoned Revolutionists, who are planning another Revolution to reform the first one, their estimation is all wrong! I assure you that they don’t know their numbers! And they don’t know the people of Iran.

The Supreme Leader may shout all he wants, while Ahmadinejad will show up in New York—he likes Sacks Fifth Avenue. (And who in his position wouldn’t?). Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard flaunts his constitutional mandate, and Mir Hossein Mossavi and his allies get ready to be glorified. Alas, Khatami will not be joining them!
Obama may like what Hillary has in mind, and who knows, may be if it’s necessary the lobbyists push for something little more daring than just a tough sanction, but the European Union may again consider some independent reactions. What the Russians and Chinese will bring to the table may even change the plan, and push the Reformists to look elsewhere. Not too complicated altogether!

But the real question still remains unanswered: How do we team up against what has been planned for us?


Katayoun

Sunday, September 6

Just a thought

I’ m a pain for no one but myself!

Katayoun

Saturday, September 5

Are you ready?

When in a split second, a microscopic entity becomes vile and exerts itself rudely and attacks a poor immune system viciously, it shows to prove the extent of the fragility of the human body. In reality, we do not know how vulnerable we are until we see the sour point of our vulnerability as a condition to our complicated existence.

In Canada we have yet to react, but there are chances that some of us will in a very near future. And I tell you if you have lived a winter in Canada, then, you would know why some people would be going mad for vaccination against a vile flu.
In Iran, I know for sure, that the whole Flu thing is going to scare the Mullahs, not the people. Iranians are not worried about the Flu, because they have the Mullahs to be worried about—the Plague of the Centuries past.


May your God keep you away from Swine Flu, because the vaccine cannot, and I am not kidding. Have a friend, a seventy-five years old feisty lady, who received Flu Shots last year, and twice ended up in Hospital to get rid of it! So, there goes your hope for medical intervention. But if there is a problem, the solution, then, should lie within.

What options do we have?

As far as the flu is concerned, we should apply the rules of Thumbs, the common-sense approach to defeat the vile attack. For that we should go back to our childhood and try to remember our elders’ simple words of wisdom—although number 6 is a contemporary wisdom:

1) Washing hands is the first rule to keeping yourself healthy. Your hands go to so many places, including your mouth, so keep them clean for your own sake, if not for the sake of the others.
2) Try to carry a pack of tissue papers in your purse, in your pocket. If you are an old type, try to have at least two clean and ironed handkerchiefs handy.
3) For haven’s sake do not sneeze into people’s face. Have manners, what is wrong with you guys?
4) Cough as much as your lung can afford, but don’t spit at people. That’s nasty. Cover your bloody mouth with a tissue paper, a handkerchief, and if none is available to you, then cough into your own sleeve. Don’t share what you don’t like with other people. That’s down right cheap.
5) Stay at home, you won’t loose your job over flu. You always lie. But, if you are feeling slightly sick do not show up at work, just be honest and say that you are contagious. The boss will understand that, I promise you.
6) And to MOTHERS: DO NOT SEND YOUR PRECIOUS ONES TO SCHOOL, IF THEY HAVE FEVER AND RUNNY NOSE. STAY AT HOME AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD. NO ONE WILL TAKE AWAY YOUR PRECIOUS IDENTITY, YOUR JOB, FROM YOU, IF YOU SHOW THEM THAT YOU ARE A CARING MOTHER.
Katayoun

Monday, August 31

A broken heart

A Hymn to God the Father

Heare mee, O God!
A broken heart
Is my best part:
Use still thy rod,
That I may prove
Therein, thy Love.

If thou hadst not
Beene sterne to mee,
But left me free,
I had forgot
My selfe and thee.

For, sin’s so sweet,
As minds ill bent
Rarely repent,
Untill they meet
Their punishment.

Who more can crave
Then thou hast done:
That gav’st a Sonne,
To free a slave?
First made of nought;
With all since bought.

Sinne, Death, and Hell,
His glorious Name
Quite overcame,
Yet I rebel,
And slight the same.

But, I’le come in,
Before my losse,
Me farther tosse,
As sure to win
Under his Crosse.

Ben Johnson (1573-1637)

Friday, August 28

Do I offend you? Good!

Bridging the gap between you and I, my dear fellow Iranians, is a TRY of all tries.
We no longer know one another. We are different. Why, you think we are not?! Well, think again.

I am here. I packed my bags years ago and left. Not a word was uttered; you didn’t even notice my absence. And years later, when I unpacked my bags, you did not notice it, again. But later on, when the reality hit, you did turn sour. It seems as if I have never Been what you wanted me to Be. Do I count for anything?

But, of course, you are always right. How could I be trusted? You can’t trust me, because the “likes” of me have stung you twice over, but was it my fault?
I understand you, I even sympathize with you. Yes, in my heart, I don’t blame you. Yes, I left the only Home I’ve ever truly loved, but what other choice did I have?

Yes, I saved my life; it was my only chance to live it! But, why are you so upset?
“Give it up, you stupid coward,” you shout, and I will not heed. I am far from being stupid, and you know that! I am only an image of you, my dear fellow. And, you need to UNDERSTAND THAT, for your own good.

Katayoun
I

Thursday, August 20

The Berg




A Dream


I saw a ship of martial build
(Her standards set, her brave apparel on)
Directed as by madness mere
Against a stolid iceberg steer,
Nor budge it, though the infatuate ship went down.
The impact made huge ice-cubes fall
Sullen, in tons that crashed the deck;
But that one avalanche was all—
No other movement save the foundering wreck.

Along the spurs of ridges pale,
Not any slenderest shaft and frail,
A prism over glass-green gorges lone,
Toppled; nor lace of traceries fine,
Nor pendant drops in grot or mine
Were jarred, when the stunned ship went down.
Nor sole the gulls in cloud that wheeled
Circling one snow-flanked peak afar,
But nearer fowl the floes no jar.
Nor thrill transmitted stirred the lock
Of jack-straw needle-ice at base;
Towers undermined by waves—the block
Atilt impending—kept their place.
Seals, dozing sleek on sliddery ledges
Slip never, when by loftier edges
Through very inertia overthrown,
The impetuous ship in bafflement went down.

Hard Berg (methought), so cold, so vast,
With mortal damps self-overcast;
Exhaling still thy darkish breath—
Adrift dissolving, bound for death;
Though lumpish thou, a lumbering one—
A lumbering lubbard loitering slow,
Impingers rue thee and go down,
Sounding thy precipice below,
Nor stir the slimy slug that sprawls
Along thy dead indifference of walls. 1888

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Wednesday, August 12

Life and Despair



“The lot of a man who sees life truly and thinks about it romantically is Despair. How well we know the cries of that despair! Vanity of vanities, all is vanity moans the Preacher, when life has at last taught him that Nature will not dance to his moralist-made tunes”.
(The Preface to CAESAR AND CLEOPATR: “Better Than Shakespear”. Bernard Shaw)


katayoun

Tuesday, August 11

The Humourist

Let me hear the jokes of a nation and I will tell you what the people are like, how they are getting on and what is going to happen to them.”

My Remarkable Uncle: Studies in Humour. 1942 Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Saturday, August 8

Our hope!




Weeks after the Presidential election in Iran, still the nation is suffering from the aftermath of Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Apparently, the whole system has gone mad! The Vali-e Faquih (Khamanei) gave the president, his son-in-faith, a very cold shoulder. Every one gasped. What, the Basij is now the Supreme force! Excuse me, did we miss something?

The Revolutionary guard, Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami, did not plan this, the Hardliners did not plan this, and the Supreme Leader did not plan it. But, apparently Rafsanjani and Khatami’s connections were aware of the procedures, or did they do the dirty job? How much of the truth is embedded in dirty lies?

On the other hand:
There is a serious lack of leadership amongst the real opposition, the people of Iran. Without a great leadership no effort can be made into the making of a progress, let alone bringing down a regime that has been backed by the will of the Free World.

But, who is there to trust? The infamous intellectuals, scattered around the globe, receiving honours and titles from here and there? No, sir, thank you. They better do what they ought to do, which is keeping away from making political decisions for profit.
Do we trust another man-of-god, even for a second, to lead us through this difficult phase? Think twice before you answer this one!
How about those who helped established the regime and are now in the service of those who invested in the regime? Think trice before you answer this one!

Our only hope:

We’d better understand that timing is every thing. Simple, I know, but the greater realization of the concept demands a greater collective thinking, that can be translated into efforts. Self-sufficiency, that’s another task. Are we ready to learn the tricks? That’s a question worth a nation’s freedom! And trust in each other’s goodness? Yes, we need to trust each other. We need to know that we are broken, we are divided, and we cannot do a darn thing if we continue like this!

There, I said my thing.

katayoun

Wednesday, August 5

Nature

Gustav Klimt

A subtle chain of countless rings

The next unto the farthest brings;

The eye reads omens where it goes,

And speaks all languages the rose;

And, striving to be man, the worm

Mounts through all the spires of form

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


Katayoun

Saturday, August 1

This is me, deal with it!

I am the one who knows how much I like to see my own people, the people of Iran, free from the grip of the Islamic Evil. But, I will not (not even for a second) put my fate and trust into the care of those who have, either directly or indirectly, helped with the laying of a foundation for the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran. Especially I am weary of those, who have now one foot in Freedom land, while keeping the other one on the Islamic ground. I despise those who thrive on deception, manipulation, and betrayal.

I cannot and will not trust the unworthy, and who can blame me for my disagreement with the very deeds of a certain number of Freedom seekers such as Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji, or their likes? I cannot, and will not, wash my hands in my people’s blood, just as I cannot support those who have, either knowingly or ignorantly, hijacked a nation’s security and Independence with a certain malice that is beyond any reason. I protest loud and clear against their shameless existence.

You can brand me as whatever you like, but you cannot accuse me of being a bigot.

Katayoun

Friday, July 31

For your eyes

"Persia that imaginary seat of Oriental splendour! that land of poets and roses! that cradle of mankind! that uncontaminated source of Eastern manners…no country in the world less comes up to one’s expectation than Persia, whether in beauties of nature, or the riches and magnificence of its inhabitants. But in what regards and manners and customs, it appears…that no Asiatics bear so strong the stamp of an ancient origin as they. Even in their features I thought to have distinguished a decided originality of expression, which was confirmed, when I remarked that the numerous faces seen among the sculptures of Persepolis, so perfect as if chiseled but yesterday, were so many likenesses of modern Persians, more particularly of the natives of the province of Fars". (James Morier, The Adventure of HAJJI BABA OF ISPAHAN )

Katayoun

Sunday, July 19

...Out Far...In Deep




Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

by

Robert Frost (1874-1963)


The people along the sand

All turn and look one way.

They turn their back on the land.

They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass

A ship keeps raising its hull;

The wetter ground like glass

Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;

But whenever the truth may be—

The water comes ashore,

And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.

They cannot look in deep.

But when was that ever a bar

To any watch they keep?

Tuesday, July 14

A stranger in a strange land...

The map of Persia, illustrated by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge


It is a strange fate to be a stranger in a strange land, and if that’s your fate, then it is up to you to meet the challenges that arise from such strange life-circumstances with diligence, care and a certain degree of objectiveness. After all it is your fate to be a stranger, but not the “strange”. Thus, you can even take advantage of your status as a stranger and explore that strange land as far and wide as you can, for you will be assured that at the end of the day when the strangeness fades out, there prevails an unexpected familiarity with what you had seen as strange! Just keep that in mind!

Any ways, a few weeks ago, in my continuous exploration of the province of Ontario, I entered the charming village of Beaverton in Brock Township of Durham region, without any previous plan, and only when I left that little heavenly place I realized that it was fate’s plan to take me there! Fate it is, that which takes me to places, where strangeness breezes away, gradually and pleasantly. And it was fate that took me to an antique shop, a two-story Victorian house, designed by an English architect, whose name I cannot recall no matter how much I try! In that crammed house, in the parlor, where only half of the antique books in that house of wonder are on display, I found a relatively old edition (1939) of THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA OF ISPAHAN (1824) by James Justinian Morier (1780-1849), and illustrated by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge (American, 1889-1976). And yes, I purchased the book. For I cannot resist not accumulating treasures, and I have no shame in that regard.

I will not bother you about the content of the book. If you are interested, you can read it for yourself. And yes, the book is available online, and you don’t have an excuse not to do so. It is a travelogue of kind, that has an Orientalist zest to it. But what the heck, you must read what you think is worth the effort, right!?

By the way, the image, that is an ornament to this post, is a scanned image of the map of Persia, illustrated by Leroy> And I reproduced it, not in its actual size—because I have no permission to do so.

katayoun

Sunday, June 28

Corruption

Corruption (1650)

Sure it was so. Man in those early days
Was not all stone and earth;
He shined a little, and by those weak rays
Had some glimpse of his birth.
He saw heaven o’er his head, and knew from whence
He came, condemned, hither;
And, as first love draws strongest, so from hence
His mind sure progressed thither.
Things here were strange unto him: sweat and till,
All was a thorn or weed:
Nor did those last, but (like himself) died still
As soon as they did seed.
They seemed to quarrel with him, for that act
He drew the curse upon the world, and cracked
The whole frame with his fall.
This made him long for home, as loath to stay
With murmurers and foes;
He sighed for Eden, and would often say,
“Ah! What bright days where those!”
Now was heaven cold unto him; for each day
They valley or the mountain
Afforded visits, and still Paradise lay
In some green shade or fountain.
Angles lay lieger here; each bush and cell,
Each oak and highway knew them;
Walk but the fields, or sit down at some well,
And he was sure to view them.
Almighty love! where art thou now? Mad man
Sits down and freezeth on;
He raves, and swears to stir nor fire, nor fan,
But bids the thread be spun.
I see, thy curtains are close-drawn; thy bow
Looks dim, too, in the cloud;
Sin triumphs still, and man is sunk below
The centre, and his shroud.
All’s in deep sleep and night: thick darkness lies
And hatcheth o’er thy people-
But hark! what trumpet’s that? what angel cries,
“Arise! thrust in thy sickle?”

Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Wednesday, June 24

Are you with Them?

Bloggists and twitterists alike, even the blessed stepchildren of the Newspaper Man, the Freelance-reporters and journalists have all been trying to draw the world’s attention to what is, at the very moment, the current state of the ongoing unrest in Iran. There are thousands of pictures in print or on the net, that have captured the belligerence of the Islamic regime in dealing with the people of Iran, “from amongst whom there rose the Revolutionary Man,” who beats, rapes, tortures and murders the herd of the common man! Hooray to the Revolutionary Man! Only, I am amazed that it had taken the whole world few-bloody-days to realize that the people of Iran have never had faith in the Islamic Republic from the very off set of its establishment!

Whether it was Mirhossein Mossavi’s call for protestation against the so called “coup d’état” that triggered the unrest or it was Ahmadinejad’s persistence to remain true to the core of the Islamic Republic’s foundation, the blazing fire of the nation’s rage against the oppressors shall burn many bales of hay! However, the regime, as we know by now, would not budge out easily, and why should it? It took thirty-years for the regime to establish itself as one of the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East, how can it be brought into total collapse by a crowd that is empty handed but alive? So, the Revolutionaries will use any means by which they could “put that fire out”. Alas, that cannot be done!

Now, the people of Iran extend their hands to you for support. Are you with them?

Thugs, theives and whatnot

The following is an excerpt from an email I received this morning from a friend who is in Iran. Of course, I know that there is nothing new in the email in terms of what it conveys, which is the obvious truth about the vile nature of the Islamic Republic, but having said that, due to the nature of the current unrest in Iran, it is absolutely necessary to listen to every voice that reaches us abroad.

I left work last week and ended up on PICH-E-SHEMIRAN located to the very southern tip of JAD-E-GHADIM (Shariati) and almost ended up losing my head. All of a sudden a bunch of idiot waco thugs showed-up with lashes, machetes, chains, and automatic assault rifles and tried to kill a lot of people. I was not demonstrating or anything, but they thought I was. I along with 4 strangers ended up on the roof of a building hiding for 5 hours. It is a good thing that you guys aren't here. Let me tell you, DO NOT EVER THINK OF COMING BACK HERE. Everyone I know is getting the hell out of here. I have been working on a project for a while now and, as soon as I reach my objective, I TOO WILL GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE


katayoun

Saturday, June 20

Filths and Wisdom

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile;
Filths savor but themselves
”(King Lear 4.3, William Shakespeare).

Thursday, June 18

Do I give a nickle!

Mir Hossein Mossavi, a prime minister with hope!

Today, my friend Mrs. Gosaleh had accused me of indifference and insensitivity to Iranian’s Plight, because of last Saturday, when I refused to participate in the gathering of the Iranian community at Mel Lastman Square in North York, Toronto. I refuse to chant what I do not enjoy.
Was I shocked at such rude remark? No, not at all. Nothing really shocks me, especially in the matter of making hasty remarks such as that one. In truth, it has been my experience that in times like this the emerging Iranian community in Toronto gets a bit touchy and unbearable. So much for our closeness!
The recent political brouhaha caused as a result of a surfacing internal power-shift, and such event does not shock me. I am not even shocked to hear and to see that the authorities, as usual, have assaulted, arrested and killed innocent people. The oppressor does not have any other purpose to fulfill, and will never go against its own nature. On the contrary, should such a shift of power bring about some positive changes in the attitude of the Iranians toward the Islamic State as the most vicious Enemy of the Iranians, I may go paralyzed!
I do not give a nickel to any Plight that does not include all Iranians. And not all Iranians had casted their votes for any of the candidates in the recent “election” in Iran. A great number of Iranians did not go to the polling stations, for they do not believe in the system and what a forced and forged constitution would legitimize as the “election”.
If a Plight has agenda, than I refuse to recognize it as a Plight. Whether Ahmadinejad is the “elect” president, or Mossavi should have been the “one,” I do not give a damn, because they both signify the existence of an oppressive regime in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s candidates for presidency, jelly-like or cement-wise are of one cloth, and whoever dares to deny that fact may go straight to Hell.

katayoun

Saturday, June 13

A Lecture upon the Shadow


A Metaphysical Poet, John Donne, has a lot to offer. Even to those who neither understand language nor appreciate metaphysical poetry, poetry of this nature has an appeal that is undeniably of a unique kind. Perhaps the mystery of such appealing nature lies in the hand of the real poet, who has not only a rich imagination but a wit that equals it, who knows the language he uses and knows it well not to use it in vain.
Enjoy this week’s poem.


A Lecture upon the Shadow

STAND still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, Love, in Love's philosophy.
These three hours that we have spent,
Walking here, two shadows went
Along with us, which we ourselves produced.
But, now the sun is just above our head,
We do those shadows tread,
And to brave clearness all things are reduced.
So whilst our infant loves did grow,
Disguises did, and shadows, flow
From us and our cares ; but now 'tis not so.

That love hath not attain'd the highest degree,
Which is still diligent lest others see.

Except our loves at this noon stay,
We shall new shadows make the other way.
As the first were made to blind
Others, these which come behind
Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes.
If our loves faint, and westerwardly decline,
To me thou, falsely, thine
And I to thee mine actions shall disguise.
The morning shadows wear away,
But these grow longer all the day ;
But O ! love's day is short, if love decay.

Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his short minute, after noon, is night.


katayoun

Monday, June 8

A heart-to-heart

www.okeeffemuseum.org

I was thinking about the subject of a new post when it dawned on me that I have never had a chance to have a heart-to-heart on this blog. Surely you know what I mean!
Well, let me be straight and present to you my grievance in a plain style. It’s a daunting task for me to write for this blog, when my audience is mute, non-responsive and its presence is a matter of mere statistic on this page. If you look at this grievance from a blogger’s point of view, you will find the attitude of a mute audience a disheartening behaviour. You may wonder why, but there is no plain answer to your inquiry, and that’s all.

Sunday, May 17

Sonnet 94

Another Shakespearian sonnet, sonnet 94, for this week! Hope there is something for you in it.

 

They that have power to hurt and will do none,

That do not do the thing they most do show,

Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,

Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;

They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces

And husband nature’s riches from expense;

They are the lords and owners of their faces,

Others but stewards of their excellence.

The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,

Though to itself if only live and die,

But if that flower with base infection meet,

The basest weed outbraves his dignity:

For sweetest things turns sourest by their deeds;

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

Saturday, May 16

Just a little thing for you!


“…Whenever a new god rises to power, it is the job of those who worship him to provide evidence that he has always existed”
(A Voice From The Attic, 1st Ed.193).

Saturday, April 25

The Wolf and the Sow




From the Fables of Marie De France—a 12th-Century poetess, I have selected The Wolf and the Sow, translated by Harriet Spiegel (1987), reprinted in The Norton Anthology of English Literature.(7th ed., vol I.)



The Wolf and the Sow

Once long ago a wolf strolled down
A path and chanced to come upon
A sow who was with piglets big.
He hastily approached the pig.
He’d give her peace, he told the sow,
If quickly she’d bear piglets now—
Her piglet babes he wished to have.
With wisdom, this response she gave:
“My lord, how can you hurry me?
When you, so close to me u see,
I cannot bear my young outright;
I’m so ashamed when in your sight.
Do you not sense the implication?
All women suffer degradation
If male hands should dare to touch
At such a time, or even approach!”
With this the wolf hid in retreat
Who’d sought the baby pigs to eat.
The mother pig could now proceed
Who through her cleverness was freed.
All women ought to hear this tale.
And should remember it as well:
Merely to avoid a lie,
They should not let their children die
!

Monday, April 20

A thing between You and I

Northern Iran

What I had in mind, when I started my contribution to this blog, was a raw idea of being a voice of a generation that was lost in the depth of revolution, war, and forced-migration. I wanted to be a voice of that particular generation, many of whom perished during the youth-cleansing of the 1983-1989 charged by the very power of the Islamic Revolution of the 1979, while the others carried on their task of being invisibly alive, painfully successful and visibly ignored by our own people. If our parents received sever punishment for the crime they never committed, we got the rotten hand of being ignored—an unfair treatment by the people of outrages passion and week sense of logic!

While our “Independent Intellectuals” were having the time of their lives, making names to be recorded in the most obscure chapter of the history of Modern Intellectual’s activities in Iran, the ordinary Iranian was living in total isolation of mind and spirit because he was awaiting the miraculous intervention of the Intellectual Man. But, who cares?

Many have asked, and will ask this question over and over until they find an answer to it. But who can blame those who do not seem to care? With a revolution like that, there emerged a new class of Iranian citizens called the Indifferent Class, a ruling class that is mean in spirit and soulless in thoughts, and vicious in actions. And this new Class would not give a nickel to anything but their own desires and needs. And who had a great hand in the creation of such a Class, but the Iranian-Intellectual-Man; the Man of all Men, whose palm is always itchy to grab hand-outs and pave the way for the coming of the missionaries. Meanwhile, The Indifferent Class grows into a monster of hideous size and feature, ready to tear you into pieces, but can it survive its own power? Or will it be the case that the Intellectual Man finally has to destroy his own creation?

Katayoun

Saturday, April 11

Personal troubles and public issues

"When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual"(9).

C Wright Mills (1959) The Sociological Imagination

Thursday, April 9

Leda and the Swan

The National Gallery, London


Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, he thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop
?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Monday, April 6

We Belong!

The Province of Gilan, Iran


When an Iranian-Canadian, who has, only recently, moved away from Iran to live in Canada tells me that I no longer “belong” to Iran because I no longer live in that country, I get twitch all over my body. Ah, the stupidity of these narrow-minded mules makes me chuckle but with tears in my eyes.


A friend who is with me interjects, “are you crazy? We’re all Iranians. You guys don’t see it that way, because you are still and relatively new in this country. Trying to establish yourself you’ll need your roots more than anything else to help you through. So, you see, we, who are not your ideal Iranians, are as Iranian as the rest of us who are living in Iran. We try our best to keep the culture alive. Without it we couldn’t have survived the displacement. So, you see, if I were as naïve as you are, I should have said that we are more Iranian than the ones like you. But, I only say this: We Belong despite your dislike!"

And I believe that truth will set all of us free!
Katayoun

Monday, March 30

Eddying song






By Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

I.
The plain was grassy, wild and bare,

Wide, wild, and open to the air,

Which had built up everywhere

An under-roof of doleful gray.

With an inner voice the river ran,

Adown it floated a dying swan,

And loudly did lament.

It was the middle of the day.

Ever the weary wind went on,

And took the reed-tops as it went.


II.
Some blue peaks in the distance rose,

And white against the cold-white sky,

Shone out their crowning snows.

One willow over the river wept,

And shook the wave as the wind did sigh;

Above in the wind was the swallow,

Chasing itself at its own wild will,

And far thro' the marish green and still

The tangled water-courses slept,

Shot over with purple, and green, and yellow.


III.
The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul

Of that waste place with joyHidden in sorrow:

at first to the earThe warble was low,

and full and clear;And floating about the under-sky,

Prevailing in weakness,

the coronach stoleSometimes afar,

and sometimes anear;

But anon her awful jubilant voice,

With a music strange and manifold,

Flow'd forth on a carol free and bold;

As when a mighty people rejoiceWith shawms,

and with cymbals, and harps of gold,

And the tumult of their acclaim is roll'd

Thro' the open gates of the city afar,

To the shepherd who watcheth the evening star.

And the creeping mosses and clambering weeds,

And the willow-branches hoar and dank,

And the wavy swell of the soughing reeds,

And the wave-worn horns of the echoing bank,

And the silvery marish-flowers that throng

The desolate creeks and pools among,

Were flooded over with eddying song.

For those who believe in the power of imagination.
katayoun

Saturday, March 28

Setting the tone!

I believe that the first note of the New Year—the Persian New Year, of course— is the most important one, because it sets the tone for the whole year. So, with this hanging in mind, I sat down to write a short note in light verse, but a friend’s phone call diminished all the hope for making a light verse! Wailing and whining, she was a mad horse trotting through conversation, and stepping on words, she was grinding anger at the depth of her throat. “Isn’t it a bit strange that an Islamic Centre in LA celebrates an Iranian festivity, Chahar Shanbeh Suri, and quite a number of assholes and sons-of-bitches of all kinds turn up?” Well, not really, I thought, because if you are naïve enough to expect of those asses to act like decent beings with brains, then you have fooled yourself blindly. But I did not say that, for I could see and understand her point. Instead I just listened, because I knew she must weep, whine and wail, till she is sad no more. I must admit that at the end of our conversation she was feeling much better and I was so drained that there was no desire left in me to rhyme for Nowrooz.
So, instead I compose this gloomy note, not what I wanted for a fresh start. But, I am still hopeful, for I know that change is inevitable. Without a doubt some will remain ignorant of the changes, some will resist them, some will fight against them, and some will embrace them and make the most of them. I am hoping that the majority of Iranians will join the latter group, and with that hope I am wishing that each of us read books that are forgotten and neglected, learn about our history and ask questions and figure out the answers independently, for that’s the only way to build a better future for Iran. For I know that even absurdity cannot go on for a long while, because it will not be profitable for a long time. And change is inevitable.
katayoun


Sunday, March 22

Letter to a Future Generation




Letter to a Future Generation


We did not anticipate you, you bright ones
though some of us saw you kneeling behind our bombs,
we did not fervently grow towards you
for most of us grew backwards
sowing our seed in the black fields of history

avoid monuments, engrave our names beneath your own
for you have consumed our ashes by now
for you have one quiet mighty language by now

do not excavate our cities
to catalogue the objects of our doom
but burn all you find to make yourselves room
you have no need of archeology,
your faces are your total history

for us it was necessary to invent a darkness,
to subtract light in order to see,
for us it was certain death to know our names
as they were written in the black books of history

I stand with an animal at my left hand
And a warm, breathing ghost at my right
saying, Remember that this letter was made
for you to burn, that its meaning lies
only in your burning it,
that its lines await your cleansing fire—
understand it only insofar
as that warm ghost at my right hand breathed
down my blood and for a moment wrote the lines
while guns sounded out from a mythical city
and destroyed the times
.

By Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941-1990)

Sunday, March 15

Nowrooz is on its way!

In less than a week, the Iranians around the globe will celebrate the arrival of the spring equinox, Nowrooz (Norooz)—the New Day—with many hopes and dreams in their hearts. In Iran, without a doubt, the Iranians will celebrate the arrival of the New-Day deservedly, as it has been with them for many centuries now. And they do it wholeheartedly, even though the Islamic State has never been happy about it, and has never failed to express its dislike for this ancient national celebration of the rejuvenation of the Mother Nature.
However, there is something magical about the spirit of Nowrooz (نوروز)that passes through all the Evil that is projected in Iran, and is stronger than the will of that demonic manifestation, the Islamic Republic of Lust and Greed. Only pure Evil stands in the way of people’s jubilation.
If your childhood belonged to “the pre-revolution era,” the era of the Pahlavi, you would know that there was something quite indescribable about the Nowrooz of that era. I can recall some fragments of my childhood, when I was enchanted by the spirit of Nowrooz, when the feeling of immense jubilation, fun and excitement would overcome and stay with me for all the thirteen-days of the festivity.
The Mullahs, however, have not been successful; people always do what they have always done in the manner of keeping the good costumes that have survived the cruelty of different ages. And that’s a fact of life.

katayoun

Thursday, March 12

The Chairman and Tom




What the Chairman Told Tom

Poetry? It’s a hobby.
I run model trains.
Mr Shaw there breeds pigeons.

It’s not work. You don’t sweat.
Nobody pays you for it.
You could advertise soap.

Art, that’s opera; or repertory—
The Desert Song.
Nancy was in the chorus.

But to ask for twelve pounds a week—
married, aren’t you?—
you’ve got a nerve.

How could I look a bus conductor
in the face
if I paid you twelve pounds?

Who says it’s poetry, anyhow?
Men ten years old
can do it and rhyme.

I get three thousand and expenses,
A car, vouchers,
but I’m an accountant.

They do what I tell them,
my company.
What do you do?

Nasty little words, nasty long words,
It’s unhealthy.
I want to wash when I meet a poet.

They’re Reds, addicts,
all delinquents.
What you write is rot.
My Hines says so, and he’s a schoolteacher,
he ought to know.
Go and find work.


Basil Bunting (1900-1985)

Saturday, March 7

International Women’s Day



It is a day in which Womanhood is celebrated around the globe! Well, they say that Women’s Day is an international-day, and I wonder if that’s the fact in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Nigeria, to name a few. Anyhow, as a Woman I must celebrate my womanhood everyday and I do. But today, it is a special occasion in which one must rise to the occasion and say a few things for the sake of the occasion. So here goes:

A true woman is a goddess of kind, whose wisdom, true beauty and charm, and the resilience of mind should be appreciated with poetry and wine. And like all goddesses she is worthy of all true praises, for she is a WOMAN.
Katayoun