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Rira Abbasi, 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”.

Oil Ailment
English version

Oil Ailment

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,

Yes, reversed.

My girls

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

On oil

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

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.

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