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Poetry

What do you believe?

 

December 8, 2005
iranian.com

And he said:
So you are a Moslem?
I said: in part
It is part of my background
My upbringing and my culture
But I believe that
Death is death
And there is nothing beyond

Then he said:
So you have no beliefs,
No belief system, no values
I said: on the contrary
I have many beliefs and values
And a robust belief system

I have studied philosophy
I am close to many philosophers

I believe in
Grounding knowledge
In good reasoning

I believe in
Giving good arguments
And in turn asking for them

I believe in
Confidence through knowledge,
Openness and listening to
The concerns and worries of others

I believe in art
As a way of life,
Creating and producing
Meaningful works
And getting a sense of self

From one's creations
From creating oneself

Lest we find ourselves
Leveling others
And building a sense of self
Based on bringing down
Those more accomplished than us

Yes, I have strong beliefs
I believe in passion
As fuel for life
Increasing its intensity and vitality

I am passionate about poetry
I am impassioned by politics
I have embraced democratic values
As our best chance
To live justly and in peace

I live and promote these values
I am an advocate of individuality
Creativity and reliance on reasoning

Religion is often built
On a house of cards,
Miracles which defy commonsense,
Outlandish threats and promises
And ready made simplistic answers
To life's most important questions

I am never quite so certain
As most religious people are
About what is good and what is evil

I do not need
The cozy homelike comfort
Of a fenced dogmatic creed

I follow wherever
Arguments may lead
I will face the perils of life
Without the help of
Comforting myths

-- Rotterdam, Netherlands

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Translated by Dick Davis

 

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