Shaherezad in Santa Monica

A Verse Drama


Shaherezad in Santa Monica
by Majid Naficy

This play is about the love relationship between Shahram, an Iranian poet living in exile, and Shaherezad, an Iranian activist who had been in prison for 11 years during both the Shah and Khomeini's regimes. They both had lost their partners, Ezzat and Hamid, in Tehran execution fields in the 1980's. In Act I, they meet in Santa Monica, California, and fall in love. But in Act II, difficulties arise and in Act III, Shahram has to accept the fact that Shaherezad has begun to date an American professor, Sean.

Cast of Characters


Shahram: Poet, 40s, partially-sighted

Shaherezad: Student, 30s, light brown hair, green eyes

Sean: Professor, 40s, long hair, tall

Act I

Cast: Chorus, Shahram, and Shaherezad


Now we raise our hearts

Like small sails

And let the wild winds

Take us wherever they will.

We pass by large and small islands

On the vast spread of the water,

And beyond the whirling eddies

We land on the sandy shore of a lonely island.

Our bare feet kiss the cool ground

And our dried tongues

taste sweet and sour fruits.

Our weary hands

Drive out the heavy mist

from our eyes,

And our ears

Hear the song of an enchanting bird

Calling us to the dense groves.

Then we will get lost

In the great jungle of love,

Where Shahram, a poet in exile

Meets Shaherezad in Santa Monica.

They both had lost their mates

In the execution fields in Iran.

Scene I

Location: "Midnight Special Bookstore", Santa Monica, California

Shahram: (toward the audience)

My love has a narcissus

In her mouth

Carried with her

From a prison in Iran.


I know that from behind bars

One can see a flower

In the face of the moon,

And hear the migrating cranes

In the blue sky.

I know that behind eyelids

And inside clenched hands

And between each execution

And the lines of the last letters

And the whispering knocks on the wall

And the wet hems of sorrow

And the torn seams of joy

And the empty holes of pain

And the twilight of hope

And the hidden summit of pride

One can

Yes, one can hide Spring.


And yet, I wonder in those dark cells

How one can grow a narcissus

So white,

Without any stain of blood.

Scene II

Location: Santa Monica


There's something sweet

In your Turkish accent

When you say, “Salaam”,

When you say, “My heart flutters”,

And when you laugh out loud,

And I see your teeth.


I haven't seen a Turkish smile for years,

Since the execution of Faramarz in Tabriz

And Hamid in Ardebil

And Ruhi in Tehran.


Once more when departing

Someone will say in Turkish, “Smile.”

But this time will return

And my chest will shield her.

(He picks up a book from the table.)

Nezami, dear, I saw your Âfaq.[1]

Not coming from the plains of Qabchaq,

But this time from the dark prisons of Tehran.

On her way she'd plucked a bunch of narcissuses

And carried a package of last letters

On her felt saddle.

Once more I will read Khosrow Shirin with her

And tell her about the sorrow of Farhad.

She and I both know the pain of separation

And always hang it from our waist

Like a small, studded dagger.


I see myself as a child

Who finds the green shoots of millet

In the cracks between the stone stairs.

They have grown overnight

Before her near-sighted eyes,

And she touches them in suprise

With her tiny fingers.

Shahram: (to the audience)

They say the Turks invaded our land,

But today I see Persia so beautiful.

Look at her eyes.


I want a wooden comb

To brush my flowing hair.

I let two braids slide down

Over my shoulders.


No, I untie them.

You have enough playfulness.

I will gather it on your head

Without covering the white strands.

The hardship of prison cells

Has made you even more beautiful.

No, no, I will let your hair hang

Freely on your shoulders.

That is how I saw you the first time.


Once more return

And call me from the dark boarding path.

Let me come back

And shower your face with kisses.

You and I have seen

Those who left and never returned.

Call me a thousand times

And let the last time never come.


Are you yourself an Orpheus

Returning from the land of death?

Time and again

I ask myself this question.

When the dead become

More beautiful than the living,[2]

Why could it not be so?


When I see you again

I will let you count my marks of torture.

Will they number as the years

I spent in the dark cells in Tehran?

Each night, you will choose one,

To travel my seven domes[3] with me.


My Shaherezad, I want to hear.

Tell me, tell me, tell me.

Like a child I put my head on your lap

To hear your prison tales one by one.

The passion for story

Roots deeply in man.

He wants to regain

What has been lost.


You ask me about your wife, Ezzat,

When she was called the last time

She wrapped her bundle and left.

I have returned

And carry her with me everywhere.


What is prison?

A place where people

Return to the womb.

Now that you are born

Stay in our world

And speak of those

Who didn't live again.


Read me your poetry.

And I will kiss your lips,

They are beautiful!


My Turkish dove,

Is it not because

You hear your name through them?

Scene III

Location: A Persian New Year table, Sunnyvale, California


Let it fill you as if you were a chia pot

And grow like fragrant watercress

Out of your hands.


The New Year will come,[4]

And you will sit

At the cloth of the "Seven S's".

You will look in the mirror

And along with the red goldfish

You will be freed

From the confines of the fishbowl.

And you will pass

From the lonely ash tree,

The stately hyacinth,

The anxious garlic,

The drunken vinegar,

And the happy silver coin.

And along with the bard of Shiraz[5]

You will be filled with the sound of love.


And so, why be sad?

When the Thirteenth Day comes

You'll go with the flowing water

And speak to the sky and the earth

Of the beautiful moments of love.

Scene IV

Location: Santa Monica Pier


Walking at the seashore

We saw the setting sun.

And along with the darkness

We came upon the pier.

You bought me a long-stemmed rose.

I held it in my hand like a sword.

And we both went into the night.


The next morning, along with the mist,

We wandered over the hills.

On a road fenced with bougainvillea,

You found an opening.

We stood behind the barbed wire,

And looked at the landscape.


When we returned to the seashore

The mist had lifted.

We sat together on a rock

And I spoke of my prison years.


The water lapped at your white shoes,

And I swam like a happy fish

In the green waters far away,

Thinking of the red rose

Still waiting for us

On the kitchen table.

Act II

Cast: Chorus, Shahram, and Shaherezad


Saki, for God's love, come and fill my glass.

Wine for a breaking heart, O Saki, bring!

For this strange love which seemed at first, Alas!

So simple and so innocent a thing,

How difficult, how difficult it is!

Because the night-wind kissed the scented curl

On the white brow of a capricious girl

And, passing gave me half the stolen kiss

Who would have thought one's heart could bleed and break

For such a very little thing as this?

Wine, Saki, Wine,red... wine, for pity's sake

O, Saki, would to God that I might die!

Would that this moment I might hear the bell

That bids the traveller for the road prepare,

Be the next stopping-place or heaven or hell

Strange caravan of death fears have I

Of the dark journey gladly would I dare

The fearful river and the whirling pools.

Ah! They that dwell upon the other side

What know they of the burdens that we bear?

With lit-up happy faces having died

What know they of love bitter mystery,

The love that makes so sad a fool of me?

A fool of hafiz!.. Yea, A fool of fools.[6]

Scene I

Location: Shahram at Santa Monica beach, Shaherezad at Santa Cruise beach

Shahram: (to the audience)

Ah, sea!

With all your greatness

You cannot find a way

Into my little heart.


Is my anxiety deeper

Than your brooding storm?

Is my crying louder

Than your sobbing sands?

Is my anger wilder

Than your raging waves?


On the other shore

My love is sitting

On the shifting sands

Of hesitation.

With one hand

She pulls my head

Toward her sweet lips,

And with the other hand

She pushes back my chest.


From his eyes

Sun and hail mix together,

And from his tongue

Both spring and autumn.

When he smiles

My narcissus blossoms,

And as I walk away

The yellow leaves descend.


Oh, sea!

Let me embrace you

So my great sorrow

Dissolves in your waters,

And my pulse beats in tune

With the rhythm of your heart.

Perhaps I'll find my love

On the other shore

Sitting on a granite rock

Letting my fingers

Play with her toes.

Scene II

Location: Big Basin Redwoods State Park


In the evening we went into the forest,

And the spirit of the trees overcame us.

On the trail, we whispered to each other

And remembered our martyred mates.

We touched their names etched on pine trees,

And we asked the birds of their destinies.

Then, sitting at the edge of a creek

We let the water caress our feet.

Our hands sought each other's secrets.

And our lips called out each other's names.

Was I your Hamid? Were you my Ezzat?


On our way back we were singing.

Suddenly you let go of my hand,

We saw two fawns that had black eyes,

Brown coats, and slender legs.


When I was a child I had a fawn

Which a hunter had brought for my father.

She ran from room to room

And looked from window to window.

She grazed on the shrubs of the carpet

And drank from the cup of my hand.

I rubbed my cheek to her cheek,

Touched her sides,

And kissed her eyelids.

One day she left me alone,

Until I saw her again

In the garden of a fairy tale.


"But the younger sister

Could not resist.

She drank from the magic spring

And turned into a fawn,

And with her elder brother

Lost her way in the desert."”


You called the older fawn,

I looked at the younger one.

She peered from behind the bush

Waiting to hear her name.


"Majnun gave his horse to the hunter

And released the captured gazelle.

Let him go in search of his mate."


I put my arms around your waist

And took your hands in mine.

We both walked in silence.

The pair had disappeared

In the shade of the shrubbery.

But I knew that my lost fawn

Had returned to the shrubs of her carpet.

Scene III

Location: Shahram's apartment, Santa Monica

Shaherezad is sleeping in her apartment in Sunnyvale

Shahram (Soliloquy)

Oh, road!

Curse you

For taking her from me!

Oh, night!

Curse you

For hiding her from me!

What if, at daybreak,

Along with the morning breeze

And dewy leaves,

I were to bend over the window

Of her quiet bedroom

And like the shadow dance

Of a swaying branch

Pass softly through the glass,

And caress her flowing brown hair

And slide down

Over her secretive forehead,

Broad eyelids

And shady eyelashes:

Bordering her green eyes,

And pause on her little nose:

So rarely seen in my own clan,

And feel the sweet traces of air

Coming out of her burning being,

And pass over her high cheeks:

Hiding the pain of prison inside,

And kiss her vanishing thin lips:

And come down

From her long, crystal neck:

Revealing her proud face,

And creep inside

Her deep blue nightgown

And Feel the whole nocturnal heat

Of her milky breasts

With their red snake-charming tips

Before Behzad[7], the great master

Can take his brush

And like chinese artists

Give life to her tapered waist

And navel cup,

Her cavern of shame

And marble pillars;

Before the old artisan

Of my childhood town,

With the delicate tap-tap of his hammer

Can bring together the minute pieces

Of my Qabchaq Turk's body

On a big copper plate,

Along with the sunbeams

I will softly climb from the wall

And stay in a cozy corner

Chosen beforehand,

And look into her green eyes

And she, subconscious of my presence

And my early-morning passage

Over her body

Will slowly open them

And gulp down the morning light

With a long yawn.

My beautiful she-wolf

Will hide her red mouth

Behind her playful tongue,

And pat her two generous fists

On her chest

To shake off the dew of sleep,

And softly raise her head

From her perfumed pillow,

And in the bathroom mirror,

As was the habit of her prison years,

Let the brush caress

Her white teeth

One by one,

And wipe with the tip of her tongue

The foam from the edge of her lips

And with a fistful of cold water

Drive out the remnants of darkness

From her moon-like face,

And press her hand

To give off the pleasant smell

Of her night urine

Into the throat of whirling water,

And then, fast and clever,

Go to the kitchen

And say hello

To the lonely bird in the cage,

And without the fragrant tea,

Or the toasted bread,

Or the pungent cheese,

Or sharing them with me:

Her happy companion,

Will slowly close the door

And clutch the jingling key-ring

In her hand,, no!

Before the city chaos,

The honking cars

And the fuming trucks

Steal her from me,

What if...

What if the sun always

Remained at daybreak

And let me forever

Stay by her pure face

In the shadow of a branch

Dancing behind her window,

And along with the air

Go inside her little nostrils

And spread through all her capillaries,

Her sweet dreams,

And bloody nightmares,

And be closer to her body than clothes

Than words to her soul,

And then hide myself

In the last joint

Of her left big toe

Where the ordained jailor

After cleansing his hands

Flogged the flesh from the skin

And the bone from the flesh

And left on this angelic body

The mark of Satan's claw.

Oh, heart!

I curse you,

For placing her within you!

Now, by which means

Will you pass this long way?

And with which sun will you see

The dawn of this endless night?

Be calm, be calm,

For your love has learned

To sleep lightly

In those dark cells,

Lest the sound of your sobbing

Disturb her sleep

And the scratching pen

On the white paper

Open her green eyes

On this dark night.

Scene IV


Shahram in Santa Monica on the phone with Shaherezad in Sunnyvale


I have been whispering with you

From the beginning of Creation

When pennyroyal sprang from the ground

And began talking to the brook,

From eleven o'clock that night

When I picked up the green receiver

And traced eleven numbers with my finger

And heard your green voice, “Hello”

On the other side of the line

Taking me to a brook of colorful pebbles.


My father was a simple switchman in a village.

My mother had the kindness of a roadside farm.

Every morning I filled my pockets

With the anxiety of the dusty road,

And in the lonely afternoons

I shared them with my little cricket.

In Eshlaq, where my grandmother lived,

I learned that stars chant.

One night Hamid and I went to the meadow.

We listened to the sound of the stars,

And celebrated the formation of a planet.

When they separated us in Evin Prison,

The starry sky joined us together

Until one night I heard the sound of his burning

And the earth stood still for me.


Lay your head on my chest.

Let me listen to the sound of your heart.


(closes her eyes.)


I forget on which side of the brook

I am sitting, talking to you.

I give myself to the water's caressing fingers

And sleep on a pillow of scents and memories.


Where are you? Where are you?

Do you hear the sound of the stars?


In my City of Angels

They are silent and dark.

But if I come to your Sunny Vale

And look into your shining eyes

My sky will fill with conversation.


(laughs and closes her eyes again.)


I know that you go to classes every morning.

At noon you pass by your little house

To cook for your brother and his son,

And then you go to work in the afternoon.

At night you do your reading and writing

Between waking and sleeping.

At eleven o'clock you give yourself

To the stream of primeval sounds.


I cannot accept this separation.

Shabnam is growing without me in Tehran

And Nasim's hair must be down to her waist by now.


I remember that reeds in my hometown

On the banks of Zâyandeh Rud river in Isfahan

Have bloomed twelve times without me.

And the doves in the Esfahânak village

Have circled a thousand times

Over the fragrant fields of melon.


We grow in exile too,

Then bloom and dry out.


Now I discover

That at the edge of this brook

Where I sit with you each night

Fragrant pennyroyals have grown,

More green than the fennel of Pudeh[8].


Bend your head.

Press your ear.

Let these scents fill you up.


I feel the aroma of primeval time

When man climbed down from the trees

And began his endless journey

Along the mysterious rivers of the world.

The water plays with your hair

And the colorful pebbles shine

In the shadowy brook bed.

The morning is drawing near.


I switch the receiver

From one ear to the other

And listen to the sweet whisper

Of this green sound.

Scene V


Big Basin Redwoods State Park


No, I do not believe

This winter sleep

In the heat of summer.

The mulberries were so ripe

That all they needed was a hand

To shake them off the branches.

The bees were busy with their midday whispers.

And no shadow of cloud was to be seen on the ground.


I had put on new clothes

And even let my upper lip sprout again.

This time my moustache looked whiteish.

But I felt born again in my forties,

And, even, shame on me, I had bought brown dye

To join nature in its celebration.


Alas, the snow spoiled my dream.

Icicles hung from trees

And the raven became the sole heir of the earth.


I gave in to the whiteness

And I vowed to shave off my moustache.

Then I saw footprints in the snow

Leading evenly toward a cave.

I realized that they were yours

When I saw the imprint of the left big toe.

The same feet that I had kissed and sniffed,

And pressed to my eyes so many times,

Now had taken you away from me.


Ah, I thought love was the antidote of all pain.

I took it in one gulp and became so vulnerable.

I wish I could go to the desert like Majnun

And find my Laili in the eyes of the gazelles.


I wish I could shave my head,

Put on a horse-hair garment,

And enter into the service of an elder.

Christ was the friend of lepers.

But I could only see Forugh [9]

Writing on my wooden door,

“The house is dark.”



hibernating in this mountain bed,

Curled up, with my eyes closed

Like a fetus in the womb.


Can your ears pick up my heartbeat?

Can the sound of my poem open your eyes?

O dark cloud,

Leave our sky!

O yellow sun,

Shine on our earth!

We return to our summer celebration.

I spread out the scroll of my new poem

Like a tablecloth on this rock,

And from your little nap-sack

I take out cheese and country bread,

And tea cups one by one.


We take a bite

And share a piece with the birds.

Let us even invite that squawking crow

Which we had chased away from our picnic.

Let our feast be open to all!

Scene VI

Shaherezad's apartment, Sunnyvale


You reach the top, seven times

Under my feet, over my head,

And let me feel the lightness of the flight,

And distance myself from the lowly land

The pleading arms of skyscrapers

The constant caravan of working ants

The wrinkled face of frowning earth;

And leave behind all belongings

And pass through clouds along with you

And reach that place where the sun always shines

And no one can enter.

During the flight I sat by the window

Looking for you in the blue sky

And I saw you in the cloud's forms.

But when the plane began to land

Puncture the mass of mysterious mist

Circle over houses and highways

And kiss again the broad shoulders of the earth,

I understood that I should return

Because I can find your love

Only in the lightness of the flight

Where everything becomes vulnerable

And even the soothing voice of the steward

And the assuring sound of the pilot

Reporting figures and different numbers

Cannot restore your confidence,

And you know that nothing will save you

And you surrender yourself to the blue sky.


I have braided my hair this time

Wearing a patchwork vest

With the design of a Simorgh [10]

on it.


I embrace you and become light again

And along with you- my beautiful hoopoe!

I travel to seven mystical lands:

First, I see Dante

He has Beatrice on his lap

And feeds her from the poet's heart.


Second, I see Nezami.

He has destroyed his book

The Five

Writing the story of his love Âfaq.


Third, I see Nima [11]

Sitting by the river, Makhula [12]

And peaking at beautiful Safura.

He knows that he won't leave his village Yush.


Fourth, I see Ezzat.

She is standing in the execution field

but the bullet does not harm her body.


Fifth, I see Hamid.

He appears in a field of narcissus

And looks at the full blue moon.


Sixth, I see Gilgamesh

Crying at the bed of his brother, Inkidu

He knows that man cannot flee death.


Seventh, you open the door

And I see a basket of narcissus

That I had sent for your birthday

and still remains in full bloom.

My fingers blossom all over your skin

And the pollen of your love sits over my pistils.


I open wide, open wide, open wide

And the aroma of narcissus surrounds us

Then I close my eyes and see you, a kind baker.

You knead me with your clever fingers,

Smooth me with your kisses,

Shape me with the tip of your tongue

And from the flowers of your laughter

You sprinkle seeds on my tender dough.


When my body becomes your body

And from our united selves

Has grown one body with four arms,

Like the Aristophane's figure of love [13]

Suddenly, you let me go

Whereupon I burn,

Turn from raw to well-done.


And I find a path from

willingness to love


And from

cognition to satisfaction


And from

unity to amazement and annihilation

And see si-morgh, as Simorgh.


You brace your teeth

Close your eyes

Turn your head back and forth

Press your nails into your palms

And scream with the sound of a newborn planet

In the infinite skirt of the galaxy.

Suddenly you plunge

And you release the tempo of the flight

On one point and only one point.

As always I surrender myself to you

And seven times I step from peak to abyss

And from abyss to peak

And I am amazed that you so relaxed

Bring together all of your bodily energy

In one part of your soul.


You take me across the narrow bridge of Chinvad [14]

Along with the seven Immortals, [15]

Until we enter the vineyards of paradise.

I travel seven cities of love with you

And knock on seven gates of heaven, one by one.


I want to stay always in the lightness of the flight

And never return to the stability of the earth

And not seek any sanctuary

except the strong shoulders of love.


From a lustful cluster of grapes

I pluck the still-sour ones

And put them in your mouth, one by one.


With each grape that I burst between my teeth

I taste the love that blossomed for so long

In our golden vineyard.



Chorus, Shahram, Shaherezad and Sean


The sun is setting inside us

And our souls deteste our skins.

Where is our India?

The land of eternal flowers

Where the green parrot

Reveals the old wisdom

And the caressing rain

Washes away sorrows.

O, comrades!

Gather from everywhere

Raise the sails

And break through the waves.

The day is sunny

And the good omen dolphins

Shake their backs under the waters.

San Sebastian Gomera [16]

San Sebastian Gomera

Let us pull anchor

And sail beyond this old atlas

Perhaps this time

We will find our India.

Scene I


Shahram in Santa Monica on the phone with Shaherezad: in Sunnyvale


I must accept that at sunset,

You can sit upon a seaside cliff

And watch playful whales with another man.


Am I not holding his gentle hand?

And is he not looking at my green eyes

When I speak of my prison years?

Do I not yearn to stroke his long hair?

And when he stands to stretch his legs

Do I not gaze at his grand height

reminding me of my martyred husband?


How far is it from the remote cliffs

To his house in the heart of the forest?

Does not the wet grass under your feet,

Portend his new Mahogany bed?

Are his hands not slightly trembling,

As he puts fragrant wood in the fireplace?

Does not the dance of flame in his eyes

Remind you of our first night of love?

And when he tilts his bottle of wine

To fill your tiny drinking glass

Does not the wine snicker at me?

And when the glass touches your lips

Do you not recall our first kiss?


Upon returning from that secret forest

When the piercing light behind the trees

Mixed with the glow of his bright eyes,

And my eyes chased his skillful hands

Moving from the steering wheel to the gears

Did he not tell me of his girlfriend in Cairo?


Tell me:

Why did your lips avoid saying my name?

And why did your skin completely forget

My caressing, wounded hands?

Did your love for me grow cold

Like the last rays of the dying sun

Letting the dark night of loneliness

Fall upon my soul again?

I testify that the human heart is fickled

And love is an old rash seeking new fingers.

If you go to the seaside again

And sit atop cliffs to watch whales

My love! remember that happy day

When we went to the dense forest

And came upon two black-eyed fawns.


Alas! the sea is vast and free

And the whales draw you to a new horizon

Our fawns have disappeared into the forest

And a lost dove mourning on a limb

Will not make them return.

Scene II

Location: Shahram in his bedroom talking to the shadow of Sean

Shahram: (to the audience)

Tonight, two men do not sleep:

The one who gave a basket of carnations to my love

last night

And the other, me, turning on the bed lamp tonight

To see his face clearly in the light of my poem.

Shahran (to Sean):

What is your name?

Where were you born?

And why, among all these other women

Have you fallen in love with mine?


I see in her the mark of agony, as you saw it

I find in her the beauty of pride, as you found it

I feel her gentle love, as you felt it.


The first time that you saw her, what was she wearing?

That day, she wore a blue t-shirt and jeans

And when it grew cold,

She put on a maroon sweater.

Her hair reached her shoulders.


Did she not tell you of her husband

Executed in Evin prison?


I knew him; he was tall and long-haired

With a gentle smile on his face.


Did she not speak of her prison pains?


I gazed at her mouth as you did

And was moved by her words.


When she spoke English

Did she not have a sweet accent?


In her Persian, I felt a Turkish tone

Like the space of a missing baby tooth.


I brought her a bunch of carnation.


My love has put your flowers in a crystal vase

And lookd at them on the other end of the line,

I asked, "What did you say?

What did your husband first give you?"

She said, "A bunch of carnations."

My heart stopped beating again

The poison filled my whole body

And my tongue sticked to my words.

She said "Don't be silly!

I'll see him Thursday

And explain everything."


I can feel your heart beats

Your hard breath and dry tongue.

Your temples throb like a drum.


Perhaps your carnations have touched her heart

You have a house in the forest

And the perfect look of a movie star

And sharp vision, like a hawk in the sky.

I am a partially sighted poet

What do I have to offer?

Twelve poems in love.


Have you ever found yourself on the waves of love?

You move forward madly, and you don't know

If you are in the undertow or on the pounding surf.


Tell me: Am I lost?

Will the new wave hit my corpse to the bedrock?

Tell me: Am I safe?

Has this ordeal been only a test for my love?


Should I go wild

And let thistles grow from my head?

Or should I become an olive branch

Swaying in a lovely summer breeze?


My friend! My rival!

Be calm on this night.

Close your eyes. Listen to your heart

And welcome whatever comes.

I turn off the light

And take my poem to bed.

Shahram and Sean:

We both will go to sleep.

The one who remains sleepless tonight

Is a woman who holds our hearts in her hand.


[1] Nizami is a twelfth-century poet; the death of his wife inspired him to write his well-known romances in Persian, including Khosrow Shirin and Leyli o Majnun. He lived in the province of Azarbayjan, where people speak Turkish today.

[2]Allusion to a poem by Ahmad Shamlu (d. 2000) written after the execution of revolutionaries under

the Shah in the 1970's.

[3] In Nizami's romance, Seven Domes, King Bahram listens to the story of seven princesses for seven nights.

[4] On the Persian New Year, the first day of spring, it is traditional to spread on a cloth seven items, the names of which all begin with the letter sin. ("s"). These "seven s's" are typically ash tree, hyacinth, garlic, vinegar, a coin, sprouts

(wheat, watercress, or other), and sumac. Other items put on the cloth (not beginning with sin) are a goldfish (in a fishbowl), a mirror, and either a Koran or a copy of Hafez's collected poems. Thirteen days later, people must go hiking and cast their sprouts into a stream.

[5] An allusion to a verse of Hafez, the fourteenth century Persian lyricist.

[6] From Divan of Hafiz rendered by Charles Le

Gallienne, New York 1903

[7] Behzad was the fifteenth-century master of the

Persian miniature.

[8] A village in the province of Isfahan, in which my father was born.

[9] Forugh Farrokhzad, a famous Iranian poet (died 1966). She made a short, and quite moving, film about lepers

entitled “The House Is Dark.”

[10] In Conference of Birds the eleventh century Persian mystic, Attar, tells the story of the birds being led by their leader, a hoopoe. They hoped to discover the magical bird, Simorgh, but after passing through seven levels of mystical love, they found only themselves. The poet plays a pun: "si morgh", in Persian, means "thirty birds", coinciding with the number of birds who have completed their journey.

[11]Nima Yushij (1895-1960), the founder of modern Persian poetry.

[12] A river near the village of Yush where Nima was born. He has written a poem about this river.

[13]See Symposium by Plato.

[14] In Zoroastrian belief the bridge from which the faithful can go to heaven.

[15] Known in Zoroastrian divinity

[16] A port in the Canary Islands where Christopher Columbus set sail for India. Instead he landed in the New World.


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Azadeh Azad

Que c'est triste l'amour!

by Azadeh Azad on

Excellent play, Majid. 

My other comment to you is this: How Could two people whose hearts are already filled with the love of their idealised "martyred mates" be able to love again?

  • On the trail, we whispered to each other
  • And remembered our martyred mates.
  • We touched their names etched on pine trees,
  • And we asked the birds of their destinies.
  • "Our hands sought each other's secrets.
  • And our lips called out each other's names.
  • Was I your Hamid? Were you my Ezzat?"


Shahram does not know that the heart needs to be receptive to love. Hence his annoying surprise:

  • "Tell me:
  • Why did your lips avoid saying my name?
  • And why did your skin completely forget
  • My caressing, wounded hands?"


Maybe it is time for Shahram to move on, in terms of his availability to experience a new love, or a new form of love.