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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


August 1, 2000

Void left by Shamlou

I want to share my feelings with each one of you regarding Shamlou's sad departure ["Prophet of light"]. There are times when we feel the need to express ourselves, times when a voice rising from within cannot be ignored any longer, when an event hits too close to home!

Since Shamlou's death I have felt such a void. A passionate voice in me echoes in the language of love, of his poetry. A longing, a sense of loss, an anxiety that evades detection and leaves farther and farther out is lingering in my mind. That's why I feel compelled to write these few words.

Last night when I picked up a book to glance through, a thought started to take root in my mind. As I was turning the pages I started to think about history and Shamlou. Then I thought if we go back in time and try to find someone like him how far back do we need to travel?

First I tried five generations and no names came to my mind. Then ten generations then I got encouraged and started from Ferdowsi's time and moved forward, Hafez, Molana, Sa'di and as far as I could see no poet in terms of content and contribution other than those came close.

Shamlou was a well rounded individual. He played a major role in almost all aspects of our lives. A poet that was a philosopher as well as a critic, a journalist, a writer, a satirist and a father both for his family and for a whole nation.

To express himself, he had to expand the Persian vocabulary and verbiage to accommodate the dynamics of his poetry. He enabled us to reach farther out into our own culture and heritage for precious glimpses into his genius and for this we owe him.

As I was looking at his picture I saw an old man that lived with dignity, worked hard all his life and proved that as long as you live, no matter where and under what bureaucracy or theocracy you can breathe, evolve and find ways to express your potentials.

He has emotionally inspired all humans from all cultures for all times just as Shakespeare, Hafez and Molana did. I think Sahmlou's stature is yet to be determined, for his diverse body of works he will be a Persian icon for a long long time to come.

In his poetry more than anything he points to human grace and elegance to encourage us to get what we are capable of and reach where our greatness is destined. As he said several years ago, "when I want to write I go to a place with no name and in there I genuinely observe and perceive life. People, events and time all have different meanings there. And it is from here that I can be myself and write what I want."

And I think this place was his true home, a place that was standing high above us all, a place where he could see the farthest, dream the vastest and accomplish the most. He conquered his greatness , lived with it throughout his life, prospered and glowed in the darkness like a light post to point to our own greatness within.

Through his poetry he made our possibilities and potentialities reachable. In past few generations and maybe in the next few, the suppleness of Persian words that was once its great heritage, that still is, reflects and resurfaces. The phoenix ashes of the greatest generation once again is glowing in its brightest in his poetry, heart and mind.

For all of us who enjoyed his poetry and his body of works he will be missed a great deal.

H. Vandad
Denver Colorado


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