I liked your laughter

In memory of Ardavan Davaran

I liked your laughter
by Majid Naficy

I liked your laughter

As you drove away

And looked back at me

In your side mirror

Not giving me time

To wave goodbye.


Perhaps, like my mother

Who hopes for a day of return

I could hold the Koran over your car

And protect you against evils

Or like my nannies, Zahra and Sakineh

I could pour water behind you

From a clay jar.

But now I have to sit alone

And sip wine from an old jug

Saying to myself wistfully:

Perhaps, he has left something behind

And will be back in no time

Honking his horn and laughing.

January 29, 2009

Ardavan Davaran was a professor of English literature in Notre Dame De Namur University in North California. In 1996 Ardavan edited an issue of Literary Review dedicated to Iranian literature in diaspora published by Fairleigh Dickinson University. He passed away on January 28, 2009.


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hearing it from your lips

by ehsaasi (not verified) on

Majid Jon,

Being the ignorant bafoon that I am (Nazy jon, I saved you the bother of having to state it), I know nothing about Mr. Davaran's work. But I was in San Francisco, at the "Belonging" reading, where you recited "I liked your laughter."

as you read it, all I could hear was longing, and as I read the poem here again, all I can hear in my head is your voice, with your own unique accent of english, suggesting only culture, rather than lack of command, and your casual somberness in paying tribute to a friend and irreplaceable colleague.

now that he has navigated through this "kavire vahshat," may he take all our greetings to "shekoofe-haa va baraan."


A Professor To Be Remembered Always

by Melinda Barnhardt (not verified) on

Dr. Davaran taught me, an American expatriate, Persian Literature in Translation at Damavand College in Tehran, 1974-75. He left vivid impressions that will stay with me always(among others, his evocation of the image of a caravan leaving, as a central one in Persian poetry -- and his discussion of the life and work of Forough Farrokhzad.) He was the soul of things Persian for me, but never so sophisticated as to look down on a newcomer's excitement, telling me prior to my first visit to Isfahan, to "Go to the square at night." He challenged the young Iranian women students at Damavand to THINK. When an American friend, a Ph.D. in comparative literature, visited Iran, he took us to lunch at Ab Anbar, and followed up with a brief stop at his home. He was brilliant, accessible, and wonderful -- and I somehow thought that I would see him again.

Azarin Sadegh

Such a moving poem...

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks Majid!

Such a beautiful tribute to a friend! So touching...please accept my condolences.

Thanks for sharing! azarin

rosie is roxy is roshan

it is a very beautiful poem...

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Nazy Kaviani

Very sad news

by Nazy Kaviani on

A beautiful requiem for a very special man.

You can't be an Iranian resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and have never heard of Ardavan Davaran. He was a very special man talk about whom always came up in discussions with artists and writers around here. Up until a few months ago, I had never met Mr. Davaran in person. The night I went to see Dariush Mehrjui in Berkeley, I saw Mr. Davaran for the first time. He introduced Mr. Mehrjui, his UCLA college friend, and reminisced about their shared memories. All through his very funny and interesting presentation, I was aware of two things. One, that he was every bit as charming as his friends had told me before, and two, that he wasn't well, yet he sounded so upbeat and energetic, laughing those lauhters you mentioned on stage.

I wish his soul peace, and I'd like to extend my sympathies to his sister, Dr. Fereshteh Davaran, and his many good friends in the Bay Area and all over the world.