Iran’s choices

I am copy­ing the fol­low­ing poem from 3quarksdaily.


Meh­di Akhavan-Sales

The stone lay there like a mountain
and we sat here a weary bunch
women, men, young, old
all linked together
at the ankles, by a chain.

You could crawl to whomev­er your heart desired
as far as you could drag your chain.

We did not know, nor did we ask
was it a voice in our night­mare and weariness
or else, a her­ald from an unknown corner,
it spoke:

The stone lying there holds a secret
inscribed on it by wise men of old.”
Thus spoke the voice over and again
and, as a wave recoil­ing on itself
retreat­ed in the dark
and we said nothing
and for some time we said nothing.

After­wards, only in our looks
many doubts and queries spoke out
then noth­ing but the ambush of weari­ness, oblivion
and silence, even in our looks
and the stone lying there.

One night, moon­light pour­ing damna­tion on us
and our swollen feet itching
one of us, whose chain was the heaviest
damned his ears and groaned: “I must go”
and we said, fatigued: “Damn our ears
damn our eyes, we must go.”
and we crawled up to where the stone lay.
One of us, whose chain was looser
climbed up and read:

He shall know my secret
who turns me over!”

With a sin­gu­lar joy we repeat­ed this dusty secret
under our breath as if it were a prayer
and the night was a glo­ri­ous stream filled with moonlight.

One…two…three…once more!
sweat­ing sad, curs­ing, at times even crying
again…one…two…three…thus many times
hard was our task, sweet our victory
tired but hap­py, we felt a famil­iar joy
soar­ing with delight and ecstasy.

One of us, whose chain was lighter
salut­ed all, then climbed the stone
wiped the dirt-caked inscrip­tion and mouthed the words
(we were impatient)
wet­ted his lips (and we did the same)
and remained silent
cast a glance at us and remained silent
read again, his eyes fixed, his tongue dead
his gaze drift­ing over a far away unknown
we yelled to him”

Read!” he was speechless
“Read it to us!” he stared at us in silence
after a time
he climbed down, his chain clanking
we held him up, life­less as he was
we sat him down
he cursed our hands and his
“What did you read? huh?”
He swal­lowed and said faintly:
“The same was written:

He shall know my secret
who turns me over!”

We sat
stared at the moon and the bright night
and the night was a sick­ly stream.

Trans­la­tion: Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Even if Mous­savi was some­how declared the win­ner, not that much would change for Ira­ni­ans. It’s not like it would sud­den­ly become a sec­u­lar state with all the free­doms Amer­i­cans take for granted.

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