I offer this poem of loss by Majid Naficy (b. 1952) in honor of the daring democratic people of Iran. Nacify’s lyrical pen pricked the Shah’s sensibilities in the early 1970s, then drew revolutionary blood as his wife and brother fell to the bitter whim of the Shah’s pious successors. The poet fled his homeland in 1983, eventually settling in Los Angeles.
My beloved has a Narcissus flower in her mouth,
Her souvenir from the prisons of Iran.
I know that nightly
From behind bars
One can see the trace of flowers
On the face of the moon
Hear the flapping wings
Of migrating cranes In the blue sky.
I know that beneath eyelids
And clenched fists
And the gunless silence
Between two executions
And the stark white of final letters
And the meaning of single taps on walls
And the dewy folds of sorrow
And the stripped down glimpses of bliss
And the hollow sockets of pain
And the dimbrightness of hope
And the cloud-clad pinnacles of pride,
Yes, one can
Hide away spring.
And yet, I am awed
At how in dark captivity
One can raise
A Narcissus flower
Has not been stained