A Word with Majesty
After we whipped the sea in a foreign land,
our children wept every night
for a piece of bread.
What glories did you bring, Xerexes,
beyond a silk coffin?
What glories other than a golden tomb?
Three thousand years of a blood bath!
Three thousand years of wild poppies
grown in the desert,
three thousand years of the sound of a harp
coming from an unknown cave or a grave!
Who taught us to write poetry
with our blood?
Hafez understood Khayyam well.
His wine is pouring from the same jug
that was once filled
with blood shed by the Tartars,
and takes its daily fill from Nishapur.
When Mazdak spoke of equality
he must have known
we have the same blood color.
After we lit the first fire
to burn forever,
since we endeared the sun,
and took water for mirror,
our hearts have gone ablaze.
Copyright 1996 by Ali Zarrin
Other poems by Ali Zarrin:
* Made you mine America
THE IRANIAN Webguide's Poetry section
Ali Zarrin was born in Kermanshah, Iran in 1952 and immigrated to the USA in 1970. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington at Seattle. He has published four books of verse in Persian and four in English. Also author of "The Interplay of Self & Other" in "Selected Iranian Short Stories, 1906-1979" (UMI Research P, 1993). Translated into several languages, his works have appeared in numerous international anthologies. He has performed his poetry on radio and TV programs and entertained audiences in many cities and countries. Presently teaching English at the University of Colorado at Denver, he has taught at a number of colleges and universities around the USA.