Watching the courageous young women and men in Iran rise up against their oppressive fundamentalist government I was reminded of the tragic Persian poet Forough Farrakhzad. Sometimes referred to as “the Persian Sylvia Plath,” although she was a contemporary of Plath, it’s unlikely that they read each others poetry. Sadly, Farrakhzad died in a car accident at age 32 and her work was long banned by the Iranian government. The poem below seems prescient in light of current events in her native land.
Call to Arms
In bonds of wretchedness, misfortune, and cruelty;
If you want these bonds broken,
grasp the skirt of obstinacyDo not relent because of pleasing promises,
never submit to tyranny;
become a flood of anger, hate and pain,
excise the heavy stone of cruelty.It is your warm embracing bosom
that nurtures proud and pompous man;
it is your joyous smile that bestows
on his heart warmth and vigour.
For that person who is your creation,
to enjoy preference and superiority is shameful;
woman, take action because a world
awaits and is in tune with you.
Sleeping in a dark grave is happier for you
than this abject servitude and misfortune;
where is that proud man..? Tell him
to bow his head henceforth at your threshold.
Where it that proud mane? Tell him to get up
because a woman is here rising to battle him;
her words are the truth, in which cause
she will never shed tears out of weakness.