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A human insight


March 7, 2005

A bird’s milk, ghasam-e Hazrat-e Abbas,
A bird’s tail and some human lives!
These are a few short phrases and nobody
gives a second thought before using them
in the great bitter game of who loses or gains,
money made from selling the blood or the soul
of the Iranians’ lives.

A bird’s milk, ghasam-e Hazrat-e Abbas,
the bird’s tail and some human lives,
may sound like a fair conversation to the ears
(... some unworthy words that are spoken in
the narrow streets of the Bazaar
and go in from one ear, and are gone from the other!)

of noble men, but the words would overflow
the hearts of cautious men and the wise... sigh.

When flowerbeds are made from the skin
of the dead, butterflies can’t afford
to have the wings to fly and waterfalls
make rasping sounds while the bodies
are thrown into the deep engraved holes,
who can say from cocoons do come forth butterflies
or if waterfalls have paradise-like sounds?

A bird’s milk and some human lives,
the bird’s tail and ghasam-e Hazrat-e Abbas
are rooted deep in the culture and the minds
but let me tell you how this story ends:
Where the human rights are just a game
of gain and loss and lives are taken
one after another, you can even
milk the birds or sell human lives!

>>> See

-- Ghasam-e Hazrat-e Abbas: Abbas is a holy figure for the Shia Muslims.

-- There is a Persian story about a shopkeeper and a thief and the conversation ends by the shopkeeper asking the thief: should I take your word when you say 'cross my heart and hope to die' or the rooster you have stolen and I can see it under your arm!

-- Bird's milk and human life: is from the Persian phrase of "az shir-e morgh ta joon-e Adamizad". It means everything from goods and services to human rights, lives and blood are available for auction!

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Sheema Kalbasi


Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis

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