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The departure

July 29, 2005

The government buildings were set ablaze
The smoke rose sky high
It could easily be seen
From most neighborhoods in the city

It was an eerie day to be in Shiraz
There were no clouds in the sky
It was unusually warm
The air was heavy
There was absolutely no law and order
Chaos was reigning over the entire nation

The sounds of gun fire crackled at night
What is happening, I asked?
"There are some Bahais,
They have fled to the mountain caves
Behind Saadi's tomb,
Some people are after them
They are trying to get them."

We were connected to the former regime
The word came from Tehran
That we had to flee for our safety

The Ayatollah was to arrive any day
The Shah was already gone
Those who helped to prop him up
Those who benefited from his reign
Now were afraid and themselves fleeing

On that last night in Shiraz
I was a bit dazed
As if hit by lightening
There was no time or desire to prepare
So we left everything behind
I relinquished my stamp collection
And few old silver coins

The whole family gathered to bid us farewell
They were all very kind
Some wept and others offered us any help they could
We embraced and gave last kisses

I kissed the Holy book three times
And I walked under it
I also kissed the ground and a few trees
Knowing that perhaps
I'll never again be able to.

We drove to Tehran
Setting out at dawn
But on account of strike
Gas stations were closed
So we had to get fuel by telling folks
That we were going there
To welcome the Ayatollah

Three days in Tehran
Staying at a friend's home
And we were off to the US

-- Rotterdam, Netherlands

For letters section
To Sasan Seifikar

Sasan Seifikar


Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis


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