, Iranian poet, fiction writer and peace activist, was born in 1962 in Khorramabad, Iran. Acclaimed as Iran’s Lady Poet Laureate and the winner of the Parvin Etesami Poetry Award in 2005, Rira is also a member of Iran’s Writers Association and the founder and director of the biennial International Peace Poetry festival since 2007. Black Fairy of Wednesday (2000), No More Guns for this Lor Woman (2001) and the bold collection of love poems Who Loves You More Discreetly? (2002) are among her works. Rira has edited and introduced the first collection of Iranian Peace Poetry (an anthology) in 2002. In 2008, she founded the Rira’s Blue House, an establishment in line with the International Peace Poetry Festival. A brainchild of Rira Abbasi and supported solely by individual donations and sponsorship of non-governmental organizations, the charter of the Peace Poetry Festival states that “Poetry for peace is affiliated to humanity, regardless of race, religion, sex and geography”.
And now I know what ails the world: Power
Humility dies on its very own emaciated neck
Even cockroaches rise
Against the sanctity of your body
The world is sated with virus.
Cover my body,
O earthly globe of bread!
When spiders became monkeys
They uprooted my eyes
And I, a woman,
I am a toothless tortoise of leather.
O you refiners of humankind!
I did not get permission to sing hospital songs
For your moonstricken eyes.
Yet, sing I will!
I have been slaughtered in the kosher custom,
Preserved in the giant freezers of Power.
In the giant freezers of Power
I am cut from Adam to the last messenger.
My intestines have the clench of your multiple claws.
Oh homeless homeland!
The roads twist in the misery of pain.
Who is he, the one who tolls the bell of all viruses?
Who is the one who puts a date on our homework
And appoints incidents?
They are reversed,
Are reversed tortoises
And my men
Have succeeded only in taking their sister’s hand by the teeth.
O equator belt of human loneliness!
Humor with the blood of a thousand corpses?
I am cut down; I have been cut from it all.
Perhaps my mother’s masterpiece was this blossomed breast of mine
In the mouth of an open mirror.
Oh what a masterpiece
And what a taste,
That cockroaches do,
I wouldn’t know, or don’t become
Eternal on a young mirror?
How fearful it is
To compose a poem in delirium
While random viruses of Power
Set fire to your today and tomorrow
In front of your very eyes!
Hello hospitalized Spring!
Your moonward eyes awaited me.
The answer to your question wanders among the morgues.
I am never scared! Never!
I splash a succulent sneeze on your thousand year old sanctity.
My Power is viral,
One that poxes the faces of world Talibans.
Why do they not fear the flow of all waters?
The flow of all voices?
With a few issued statements,
Just a few statements, you can no longer, no longer…
Neighbor means mutual pain
And I stand naked between water and earth
Come, set me on fire or as your female slaves
Iron blaze my lips
No, you have come a lot A lot and in numbers
Hello hospitalized Spring!
Stained dark curtains, stained
And our mutual neighbor has been robbed from her cushion.
I lie on the oil without a cushion
And the odor of the oil makes me nauseous
Ah, if there were no oil and wine
With what madness, what ardor, could I compose a poem?
I have drawn a curtain between the five beds of the world.
Ailed neighbors and Taliban women sit around me.
They no longer mourn any death.
Perhaps a thousand Afghan mothers
Have set out to scream this smother
As I become a river, a river I say
And flow between the five drowsy beds
O nurse! Keep the lights on
This river has a mission
A mission for all words
A mission with the emaciated neck of this humble one.
Call my nurse,
And take me,
Take me away from my Muslim neighbors
My dread is no longer blood clotted
My dread is no longer death
But the return of Spring to Autumn.
I burn from fever
And the month of May laughs
I wish there were no teachers in the charter of existence
And my heads and tails thwarted poem
Was just a red flower on those five drowsy beds
O masterwork of Nature!
You made the roof and I made the walls.
I draw the curtain between hatred.
When trousers robbed mothers
Shriek out sleep,
A sleep with no cushion.
They no longer weep
No longer laugh
They sobbingly laugh out the oil
The stolen trousers, they laugh them out with a sob.
We, ill and defeated
And the general surgeon narrows his eyes
As though there has never been a flag on any patient’s desk.
Tonight, I shall take a mirror
To the mothers of robbed trousers.
How broken is this sun, how broken!
I fall, fall apart from its fall.
O human misery,
When, just when would you let go of the mirror?
Translation from Persian into English by Maryam Ala Amjadi