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Middle East Abeja Dispatch

Songs To Iran
April 29, 2000


Plea to Omar, Rumi, Hafez, Saadi, and all Poets passed:

Great Poets, from a time that now is gone,
please help my pen, your work to carry on.
What Rubaiyats and Odes yet to be written
will spring from this young poetess you've smitten?

Through poetry the heart its song can sing
the soul's eternal truths do softly ring.
Freed from the mind's own rigid concrete towers
to search the deepest woods for sweet rare flowers.

So please, wise spirits, I beg, set down your wine,
and for one moment leave that place divine.
With pen in hand I'll climb high in the trees
and hear your whispers carried on the breeze.

From crackling fire your jokes will reach my ears.
I'll rest by streams to hear your laughter clear.
In rain you will give rhythm to my rhyme,
and through my breath you'll calm my anxious mind.

Please, at each sunrise, show me something new,
so with the dawn I'll know what I should do.
In endless sky, teach of eternity.
At sunset come, and share your wine with me.

Like birds in flight
chadors flutter in the wind.
Women stand tall
pride showing clear
through the veil.

Click image for larger view
Iranian women can't hide their pride beneath their black chadors
Mosque Emamzade-ye Hussein

Dome shimmers
ocean, sky, wriggling fish,
water rolling
towers growing
glazes glowing
in the midday sun.

Persian song
in tilework laid
Rhythms, harmonies
weaving 'round one another
praising Allah
one colored square at a time.

Inside the light of love
a diamond shimmers.
Pastel mirrors
on every surface
the sacred tomb.
" Easter in Las Vegas"
Kavi mutters.
How can this prophet
rest in peace
with so much light

Click image for
larger view
Trekkers pale in comparison to the intricate tile work around them!
Ode to Tehran

This city grows
organic concrete
in the fertile petri dish
beneath watchful Damavand.
Paykans pulse
through Tehran's veins.
Human beings,
the oxygen
that give each neighborhood life.
Choking on exhaust,
I stand alone.
A foreign element
passed through the membrane,
of barbed wire
and border guards
to witness
controlled chaos,
To know Tehran:
Urban sprawl.

Click image for larger view
Driving through Persia in the Odyssey bus

Zoroastrian Temples

A fire lives
1000 years
illuminating generations of believers.
What power lies
in rapid oxidation?
Does fire have memory?

Other elements, yes.
The earth, the water-
they carry the past within themselves.
The air?
Is it too busy caressing the now?
Ah, but the wind tells stories.
The air must know.

Yet fire is eternal,
timeless, pure.
It holds on to nothing.
Reducing all
to the essential


divine - godlike, pertaining to a god
oxidation - rust through exposure
hemoglobin - protein which brings oxygen to tissues


p.s. - Please e-mail me at


Monica - The Man Behind the Picture: A Tour Through the History of Emam Khomeini
Kavitha - The Tragic Tale of Mahraz
Brian - Taught to Fear, Told What to Think: Revelations in Iran
Monica - Mindin' Your Own Business! A Story About Cross-Cultural Interactions

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