Thirty Birds

To joy


Thirty Birds
by Rosie T.

As I told you recently in my article "Leila and Me", there was a time following a relationship with a Persian man when I went under. And I showed you the poem I came back with. About two months before that I had written a poem called "Thirty Birds". It was a very different journey. It also dealt with going under, but it was an ascent, rather than a descent, into light.

He was a self-styled Sufi, the man in question, and as you no doubt know the title "Thirty Birds" comes from Attar's Simorgh in "The Conference of the Birds." Attar's seventh and final stage of the Sufi's journey, fanaa (extinction) is often translated into English as the Valley of Death. It is an erroneous translation but it fit the experience revealed in this poem.

This poem was revealed to me. Let us not argue from whence, whether from the sub- or super-consciousness, and simply accept that, as with the Leila poem, I had no conscious choice or will in its making, only in the editing.

It revealed itself with Attar's journey as the central metaphor, but it also revealed the presence of Ahriman/Angra Manyu, Ahura Mazda's opponent. I envisioned him somehow very strongly as Khomeini engaged in a battle with the "songgirl", Forough, for the soul of Iran and the world.

Yet the poem also revealed intense Christian symbols: steeples and bells, a saying of Jesus, also as in Attar the top of the mountain. And it is fitting because in reality the spirituality of Iran is a complex synthesis of many religions. including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Turkic shamanism with Mazdaism and Islam.

I just learned that Balkh, where Rumi came from, was until the advent of Islam for a thousand years a great center of Buddhism. And I wonder how much that age-old substratum influenced his vision.

The relationship between Ashura and the Christian flagellantis has been a recent topic of conversation on this website. And under the Sassanids, despite their oppressions, the fertile genius of the Iranian imagination gave birth to ever newer religions, to Mazdakism and to Manichaeism. Later, of course, came the Bahai.

The true religion of Iran, Iran's true spirituality, has all names and no name.

Suffering in Shiism, as in others of the religions which form Iran's spirituality, is seen as an essential part of purification. But the purification achieved through suffering should lead to a catharsis and a new dawn. That is to say, to joy.

To Light.



for j.


You said at the end I would find myself

That every journey is about ourselves

I trusted your hand and in silence

I went.

We walked across valleys filled with birds

and the seventh one was the valley of death

In Death Valley you rested your head on my breasts

as the clouds caress the mountains with erosion.

And then I saw you recede in the distance

and then I saw nothing but Death


I slept.


I never intended to wake

but I woke

and somehow I was on top of the mountain

something had pulled me up

and I looked

and I saw steeples

and I heard


birds birds hundreds of birds

flapping their wings

bathed in light

I heard everything

the screams of delight

the pain of the dying

the crystalline beauty of the bells



and angriman was there

angriman too

and his jackdaws

and the songgirl he hurled

into the wall

and the crashing of the glass

and the wretched earth

and the poor ye shall have with you always

but why?


and then there were only thirty birds

the mountain the mind and memory and erosion.

I saw a young child alone by a road

I remembered her name.

She had once been me.

I felt her recoil from a slap on the face.

I knew who she was.

I understood.


We have all been abandoned

we have all been slapped

the mountain on which I stood

had been struck


the birds too

had all been struck

every flapping


flutter every

leprous feather





my father


by the love he could not give

and my mother by the love

she gave too much


and terror and



fear of the road


and the idiot angriman

foaming invectives


and you who had left me

you too



and then


everything was



you and

thirty birds


and my father

and my mother and


one bird only


and I knew

I had reached

the end of my journey


and the motherfather


and I wept.


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I shall not live in vain.....

by Nadias on

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part One: Life


If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his (her) nest again,

I shall not live in vain.




I do not know how to relate

by LostIdentity (not verified) on

I do not know how to relate the content of your posting to Simorgh (the title). Also, it touches on few subjects that are very unbinding and scattered. However, I enjoyed reading it. I meants to comment of one of those subjects - You say, "just learned that Balkh, where Rumi came from, was until the advent of Islam for a thousand years a great center of Buddhism. And I wonder how much that age-old substratum influenced his vision."
This is a very genuine question but considering the timeline in history, I do not expect to see even a weak effect of Buddhism on Rumi. I can be wrong but I believe Balkh was a moslem country for few decades prior to bith of Rumi. Rumi talks about role models such as Attar, Abi-Said Abalkheir, or Bayzi Bastami. And, of course, the one and only who put fire under his heart was Shams.


Ashura is truly amazing phenomena. Some believe that if Ashura did not happen, Islam would have lost it's genuineness and originality, Quran would've been replaced by another book with man-made verses like the old and new testament. The world would also loose the meaning of Justice. Now, the rituals done in Ashura, come from the hears and minds of regular people. Mullah say that they actually have no control over these rituals and only warn against some rituals that are demeaning to the spirit of Ashura such as inflicting cuts to head and body. The ayatollahs even banned thiese acts.
It is very interesting to see the roots of Ashura. Besides major corruption and deception in the ommayyid dynasty that were in obvious contradiction with Islam's teachings, believe if or not, there's a story of Love, corruption and guardianship!


It has the same........

by Nadias on

relevance to the poem on this page as some of the comments that have been made towards Rosie T. and I.

Which is the total point of why I posted it. It is called sarcasm.



Huh? Hate? Dust? Love? Maya?

by CuriousBoy (not verified) on

Nadis S, what's the relevance of you poem to this article? Let's see if Rosie's gonna make it delete.


Good thing that.........

by Nadias on

I am not defined by others, rather I define who I am.

"Character is what you know you are, not what others think you have."

               -Marva Collins



I'm focused on academic pursuits

by Anonymus (not verified) on

That's why I don't focus on "" the way Rosie and Nadia do! Do they even have a job???


Like the Phoenix.............

by Nadias on


Still I Rise..( parts of the full  poem)


You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise..........


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?........


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise..........

I rise

I rise

I rise

By Maya Angelou



Yes, it's the academic focus

by AnotherAnonymous (not verified) on

that has made you a perfect, or just about perfect, acolyte for Rosie... You two match so well!


I am most......

by Nadias on

I am most certainly not looking for a husband here or anywhere else.  The focus of my life is academic. I seek knowledge and understanding, not a mate.


Thank you for the laugh.




In additon

by In Love (not verified) on

Yes and I would like to add a reauest to his request please, Could you Rosie T and your Ahem "Friend" Nadia, Please both post clear, full length pictures of yourselves,including body and figure, as well as your availability status and phone number and address? There are many, many of us Iranian men drooling over you two, and also on a minor point ,badly in need of a stay of deportation, so the faster we can get a date the better. Many, Many thanks from us "zan nadideh" men of Iran.Because as you know there is a clear lack of gorgeous naz nazy Iranian women around. Kisses from LA County Jail


Small Request from Ms. Rosie T

by Arham (not verified) on

Ms. Rosie T.
Hope you are well. I am a frequent visitor of the and love to read people’s comments as posted on different topics. Nothing wrong with that, right? I am writing to request if you could replace your current signature picture with one that us readers could see your full lovely face. By making this request, you probably think I am a pervert. I am not. I consider myself a gentleman and a respectful human being. Appreciate considering my request. In advance I thank you for your writing and additionally I might add that you have a wonderful writing skill and always drive your points across so well. Be well and enjoy your day Ms. Rosie.


I don't think so!!!!!!!!!

by AnonymousISenough (not verified) on

Rosie, you should not impose on people about registering. Only law enforcement agencies and government officials!

Rosie T.


by Rosie T. on

TThe only information you have to give is an e-mail address.



by Mona 19 (not verified) on

IRI have killed Iranian Baha'i in Iran who were born and raised in a Baha'i family.
some were kidnapped and were never seen again.
don't you think they will tolerate some one like me who convert to Baha'i faith.
I'm not saying this site is not safe but I don't think it's wise to give my name, address, and other info.

With Loving Greetings,

Rosie T.

Dear Khar,

by Rosie T. on

Thanks for the tip.  I will check out the latest Ashura submission.  I posted at length on the previous one this past week.

 PS I doubt you're a Khar, but then Ben Madadi says we all livei n Kharestaan....


On my way out, for good, ...

by Dr. Kafka (not verified) on

I just have to say: "to encourage those who believe in a secular democracy to find common ground" IS to take a political stance on Iran; and "to say that there are many Islams and the secularists should acknowledge peace-loving progressive Muslims in their rhetoric" IS to take a stance on religion.

Shalom and ............... Good-bye!

Rosie T.

You see, Kafka...

by Rosie T. on

you';re xenophobic. You just admitted it yourself.  I'm not a typical foreigner but you can't see the difference no matter how hard I try. I have NEVER taken any political stance on Iran except to encourage those who believe in a secular democracy to find common ground. I have NEVER taken a stance on religion except to say that there are many Islams and the secularists should acknowledge peace-loving progressive Muslims in their rhetoric.  You can't see me, you can't hear me, because I'm "khareji.'

I don't WANT you to leave me alone. I want us to come to some kind of understanding.


Dear Rosie

by Dr. Kafka, MD. PhD (not verified) on

I was speaking of ALL your writings, of ALL your condescending comments and of ALL your SPEECHES! And yes, you are a foreigner and we've had enough of foreigners trying to civilize us. WE ARE ALREADY CIVILIZED. You obviously are not ready to hear me. Therefor, and also because you've viciously begun accusing me (and other intelligent people who do not admire you) of taking joy in your misery, I leave you alone for good. That is a promise, my Lady!




I'm not missing anything.......

by Nadias on

I have been  keeping up with that thread. I had never heard of Ashura until it was posted on

By the way why did you post one comment on the Ashura thread twice? Also, interesting link you provided on your circus comment.



On a totally different subjet.....

by KHAR (not verified) on

Rosie and Nadia you two are missing a very interesting discussions under: "Sinehzani in NY, Ashura USA" on the home page. I like to hear what you two think.
Sincerely Khar.

PS. By the way check out my posts on that blog.

Rosie T.

I repeat,

by Rosie T. on

there is nothing offensive or colonialistic in this article.  All it does is extol Iranian spirituality and explain the background and symbols of a poem.  If I were Iranian, you would simply accept what I had to offer with good grace. 

The double standard isn't fair. And you have "Schadenfreud."


Dear Rosie

by Dr. Kafka, MD. PhD (not verified) on

I am a published psychiatrist and psychotherapist. If I register, can I still say that you are a very manipulative and narcissistic woman with the mind of a colonialist? Are you still going to refuse to look at yourself and the condescending way you are behaving on this website? Are you still going to manipulate readers by playing victim, and by accusing me of being abusive? All I did was to express my professional opinion and offer it to you for free. As the poet says, "Khod Shekan, Aaeene Shekastan Khataast!" Have a great day, and don't forget: Mirror, Morror!

Rosie T.

Dear Mona,

by Rosie T. on

Thanks for reading. The first and most important thing you could do to help the situation would be to register.  Registered users don't behave in this way and the more people who register, the more others will be inspired to do so and then their behavior will change because once they have their own cyberidentity they will realize that responsibility goes with it.  Right now the chickens so outnumber the registered user that there is no motivation for the people who continually abuse the site to register.

Registration brings many benefits, tracking of your and others' posts, contacting other registered users off-site, editing your posts, flagging offensive posts  and so on. It's easy to do and it's really a good thing. It's actually easier to post once you're registered. because then you're permanently logged into your computer and you don't even have to sign when you post.

I am very crushed and disheartened by the attacks on me. I was the person who defended other users successfully against abuse. I researched Ben Madadi's old writings to prove he wasn't a separatist, and I challenged people who accused Rashidian of being with the MKO to supply proof, even anecdotal, and they couldn't so they stopped. I put a lot of time and effort into it just to help out. In conversations on political and religious topics I never took a stand, other than to remind people that anyone who wants a secular democracy in Iran is on the same side, and they should find ccommon ground. And so these attacks are very painful. I never tried to hurt anybody but people are very successfully trying to hurt me. There is a word for it in English from the German: Shadenfreud.  It means taking joy in other people's misery.

David ET

not so

by David ET on

This is NOT about "holier than thou" Rosie, you, I .... or agreeing or disagreeing with one another. e.g.: I explicitly expressed some disagreements with  Rose's "Leila "...




by Anonymous's fan (not verified) on

I think Anonymous's comments are hilarious! I have zero interest in "The Rosie T mafia" or the gibberish she continues to spout everyday or the fact that she treats this once respectable forum as her own personal "chat room", with all the stupid comments back and forth, but I get a kick out of all the highly intelligent and witty people putting this arrogant, narcissistic, "holier than thou" ,obnoxious person, who wants to teach us our own culture,cuz "sorry maam we too estoopid to understand", in her place. Keep up the good work:)



by RoseRose (not verified) on

Your explanation of the intro to your poem would only make sense if you worked on your tone. How could you possibly judge a character on cyberspace....? The only clue your readers have is your words...There's a difference between those who look at your words regularly and those who've seen only a few or just this one...For one who has followed your writing on this site, it's your tone that hurts you and your reputation the most....And I'm saying that in a critical but honest and friendly way. If you really are who you claim to be, characterwise and in real life, you would be way better off and more helpful to this community to work on that tone. You may not have the slightest intention of self-promotion but that's what your "tone" says ...Of course you have every right to take or leve this, but I invite you at least to think about it. I've known a couple of staunch bloggers who've recently decided to take some time off from blogging and reflect on their image for their readers, two of whom specifically accused of the same faults you've often been. So how about taking some time off and looking in the mirror inside? I'm not a frequent visitor here anymore because of the recent failing quality of the site, but still have seen quite a bit of your work during my occasional visits. Instead of looking to make a change in others, how about starting with yourself? Sorry for the "sermon?"....but you'd perhaps benefit from some house cleaning ... Now please if this comments hurtt you in any way and you get into that self-defense mode, feel free to respond, but i'm afraid i won't have time to visit the site for a while to read that. So instead of reading this as ad hominem, take it as the words of a stranger who met you very briefly just once. good luck with your journey.


Thanks ayatolla mona 19 for

by Anonymous666 (not verified) on

Thanks ayatolla mona 19 for the sermon!


To: Rosie

by Mona 19 (not verified) on

Dear Rosie:

I'm new to this site, and It's really sad to see few people use hurtful words and abusive language to show their disagreement with others.
They don't simply use respectful way to share any ideas/belief/message.....etc

I think we should set some ground rules to facilitate discussion and to ensure open, respectful dialogs.

we should not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from harmful words -- focus on IDEAS.

The goal is not to agree -- it is about hearing and exploring divergent perspectives.( unity in diversity)

""Be kind, be decent, be generous, be tolerant, compassionate, and understanding. Be fast to praise, slow to judge. Remember, we're all human, and don't cast the first stone. ""

With loving Greetings,


we, us...they say.....the so

by Nadias on

self proclaimed speakers for the Iranian community. I am amazed at the audacity of this individuals that continue to do personal attacks on the writers on this website.

They keep calling people colonizers, condescending, etc. ......when in fact they have made themselves the self proclaimed speakers for all Iranians.

I can assure you that they do not speak for my Iranian friends. My Iranian friends enjoy their freedom to think, act and speak for themselves.



Rosie T.

The site isn't just losing quality writers...

by Rosie T. on

it doesn't even have the kinds of PHOTO submissions it used to have.  One on the horsemen of Afghanistan stands out in my mind. Another of the works of the famous early 20th century photographer, Sevruguin.  And the photos of the beautiful erotic paintings of the Moghuls. These were all right before the new format.  Now the important cultural stuff is just gone.

An essay I read three years ago stands out in my mind, It was an analysis of sexuality in the memoirs of Vali Khan, a Qajar courtier, which are surprisinglyquite explicit. It was just on a very high level of discourse, and very thought-provoking in questioning our concepts of gender and catgories of sexual preference. I can't imagine someone posting something like that now, knowing what kind of circus of disgusting lewd comments they'd be exposed to.

I also have never been personally attacked by a registered user. No matter how much they disagreed with me, the attacks have not been personal. Even those registered users who display vitriol at times always do it in the context of ideas...they get mad, but the attacks are not ad hominem.  

JJ thinks it's possbile to ignore the abusive comments on the threads but it isn't. And at the end of the day you don't even know how many come from distinct posters.