Missing the point?
September 4, 1998
When I bought "The Complete Poems of Iraj Mirza" from Iranbooks in Bethesda, just outside Washington DC, I went straight to the poem I had heard so much about over the years -- the one about his views on the chador, which was written some 50 years ago.
I had already read or heard parts of it before. But I had never read it in its entirety. As I was waiting for a friend in the car, I read it all with great enthusiasm. What courage and wisdom, I thought. Iraj Mirza had made a strong argument false chastity, but with great sense of humor and imagination. And he used adult language in a way rarely seen in Iranian literature, even outside Iran.
When my friend got into the car, I asked her to give me a moment of her time. But before I finished the first page, she asked, "Isn't this the one about rape?"... go to feature
My long tresses I shall cut
By Dorit Rabinyan
Flora was also made to sing the sad song that had been composed especially for such troubles of the heart. The old women drew their cracked lips into the dark caverns of their mouths and agreed with Sabiya Mansour that even husbands who sailed beyond the Caspian Sea to the end of the world could hear this song plainly, and the sadness of its bitter melody brought them back to their wives. That was the song that Gulistan had sung to her lover, Horshid, the women chorused squeakily, their eyes moist, their souls yearning, and their flesh astir.
Gulistan was the beloved of Horshid, the royal sculptor. He had carved her form in snowy, purple-veined marble like her skin, and set it in the middle of a gushing fountain in the palace court. When Horshid heard that Gulistan had been betrothed to the son of Reza Shah, he thrust the heavy chisel into his forehead and died. The following day Gulistan found his body floating in the palace fountain, the goldfish swimming in the caverns of his ears. But when she sang him this song and told him that the story of her betrothal was a lie spread by the prince to alienate her sculptor lover, Horshid revived and the fractures in his skull healed immediately with a fine purple scar. ... go to feature
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