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