Cyrus Mahan is a prominent Iranian writer and poet living out of his country since 1986. He has published numerous articles, short stories and poems, all concerned with the Iranian struggle for freedom, democracy and equality. He was arrested two times when Shah(the monarch) was in power, and spent four years of jail terms during this present regime. Critics consider him the most socially conscious poet and writer of to day's Iran. [Short biography by Farima Parvin]



Poetry, blood and cyanide

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide.

I will fight you to the bitter end
So that my neighbor,
A bus driver of fifty or so,
Can shave his beard and let his mustache grow.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that the bank teller of my neighborhood
Is allowed to wear his tie and perfume

And the school teacher that I have known since I was six
Can dress up in the morning
In a three-piece suit,

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

So that you, the foreigner
Without a fear of apprehension,
Can visit me at my home

And my neighbor's daughter
Who has just joyfully completed her first year at school
Need not hide her head
For some more years

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

So that the kids of the south ghettoes
On the last Wednesday of the year
Can merrily jump over the flames

*

And the same kids
On the thirteenth day of the New Year
May gather in a garden
And the young girls
With no shame
Tie nudes on the graces,

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

I will fight you in the city streets
In the rice fields of the north,
In the seashore of the south,
On the Elburz peak
And the central creek

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that the Jews are allowed to be Jews
And Baha'is and Christians and Buddhist
Alongside with Zorastrians and whoever else
Can pray to their gods, no permission asked.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that Iran
Will rest in peace and let others respite
And the nations of the world
Come together in accord.

I will fight you with words,
With a book of poetry
Hidden under my cloths
And a necklace of cyanides
Standing by
And my teeth set to chew

*

I will fight you
With poems, blood, my teeth and cyanide
I will fight you to the bitter end
I will fight you for the rights of prostitutes
That you stone in public show

*

I will fight you and
These are my reasons:

Perfume, mustache, tie, three-piece suit, joy of jumping over the flames, music of all kinds, having a typewriter, tie the grasses in the thirteenth day of the new year, communists and Jews and Baha'is having a decent burial.

I am not talking of the mass graves,
The executions,
The stoning,
The death by hanging,
The torture and torment,
The destruction of a nation.
I am holding you responsible for simple things.

Ties and perfumes and decent burial.
Therefore,
I will fight you.
I will fight you
with a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide.

Notes:
* The word cyanide used in this poem is the true story of Iranian revolutionaries during the struggle against the Monarchy and then the Islamic regime. We used to have carried a capsule of cyanide so that we can chew of it in the case of danger and save the information from falling in the hands of the reactionaries. So much information saved as a result of applying this practice.

* In Iran under the Islamic regime, tie and perfume are not allowed and girls over 7 years of age are forced to cover their heads.

Copyright 2001 by Cyrus Mahan




A new Flag is Declared

In the dusk of the night,

Under the watchful eyes of the guards and the guns.

I'll write a poem,

On your shirt.



A multihued shirt,

Coming from the torture chamber.

A shirt of cotton and blood.

A shirt of torment, torture and anguish.





I'll write a poem

On the midst of the night

In the milieu of red.



A poem,

A single word poem.



People will make it a flag,

Raised, full staff,

Written on it a poem,

A single word poem.



On the daybreak of Iran,

In the milieu of blue

The earth is given birth

To a new flag;

Written on it:

Freedom, a single word poem.


Copyright 1983 by Cyrus Mahan

This poem is written in prison and smuggled out by someone whose prison terms ended in 1983. The poem is originally written in Persian.

This is the story as he once told an interviewer: In 1983 a prisoner moved into our jail from the infamous Evin prison. He brought us a shirt, blood dried all over. The bloody shirt of Mahmood Aazadi (his family name means freedom in Persian (Farsi)) a close friend of mine. After being tormented and tortured for months, he was executed in 1982, in the city of Amool, north of Iran, with many others. He was a teacher and a member of Sarbedaran, a leftist group. It is with his bloody shirt that they, the Iranian people will make their flag, a flag that belongs to the oppressed people around the globe. Here it is: A new flag is declared!