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Seda: Voices of Iran

Mehdi Akhavan Sales


Mehdi Akhavan Sales (M. Omid) was born in 1928, in Mashhad, Khorasan Province, he finished secondary school there.  In early 1950s, he became involved in anti-governmental riots, something common in Iran of those days, and was briefly imprisoned after the fall of the government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953. His first book of poems  Organ was published in 1951. 

Between 1959 and 1965, he joined the governmental work force and served as a high-school teacher and a grade-school principal. He also contributed to dubbing and/or narrating educational films, in addition to writing articles for newspapers and popular magazines.

In 1959, Sales published his End of the Shahname, wherein he examined some of the contemporary socio-political problems of Iran in the context of the country's own ancient myths and legends as reported by Ferdowsi. And, a year later, he created a complementary view of the same in his From This Avesta, again indirectly criticizing the government. Retaliating, the government persecuted him and his followers as anarchists. Similar activities in 1967 landed the poet in Qasr prison for a short period.

After his release, Akhavan joined the Ministry of Education as well the National Iranian Radio and Television Organization.  He died in 1990 in Tehran. His tomb is in Tous near Mashhad, near Ferdowsi's grave.

The critics consider Mehdi Akhavan Sales as one of the best contemporary Persian poets. He is one of the pioneers of Free Verse (New Style Poetry) in Persian literature, particularly of modern style epics. It was his ambition, for a long time, to introduce a fresh style in the Persian poetry.

The Moment of Visiting

The moment of visiting is near.
Once more, I am a lunatic and a drunk.
Once more, my heart and my hand are shaking
Once more, I am in another world.
Oh razor, do not scratch my face, so careless!
Oh hand, do not mess up the straight of my hair!
And do not embarrass me, my heart!
The moment of visiting is near.

Ancient Land

From all meaningless earthly possessions, if I acclaim
Thee oh ancient land, I adore

Thee oh ancient eternal great
If I adore any, thee I adore

Thee oh priceless ancient Iran
Thee oh valuable jewel, I adore

Thee ancient birthplace of the great nobles
Thee famous creator of the greats, I adore

Thine art and thoughts shines through the world
Both thine art and thine thoughts I adore

May it be legend or history
Critics and ancient stories, all I adore

Thine fantasy, I worship as truth
Thine reality, as news I adore

Thine Ahuramazda and Yazatas, I revere
Thine glory and Faravahar, I adore

To thine ancient prophet, I take an oath
Who is a bright and wise sage, I adore

The noble Zarathustra, more so than
All other sages and prophets, I adore

Humanity better than him has not seen and will not see
This noblest of humanity I adore

His trios are the greatest guide for the world
This impactful yet brief guide, I adore

This great Iranian was a leader
This Iranian leader I adore

He Never killed, nor asked others to kill
This noble path I adore

This truthful ancient sage
Who went beyond the legend, I adore

The eternal intellect of the glorious Mazdak
From all angles and aspects, I adore

He died bravely in the war with injustice
That just lion-heart I adore

Global and just thoughts he had
More of his thoughts in our path I adore

Praising thine great Mani
The artist and messenger I adore

That painter of the higher spirits
The truth of his paintings I adore

All types of your fertile lands
All your fields, deserts, springs and rivers I adore

Thine brave and noble martyrs
Who were prides of the humanity, I adore

With the help of the morning breeze, their spirits
Made of Iron, I sense and I adore

Their exciting thoughts which had turned the centuries
Upside down I adore

Their works of experience and messages
Or maybe a few lines of news I adore

Those legendary noblemen of
Just a few in each century, I adore

All thine poets and poems
Same as the morning breeze I adore

Thine Ferdowsi, the legendary literary tower he erected
placed in the hall of fame and glory, I adore

Thine Khayyam, the eternal anger and passion he created
In our hearts and souls I adore

Thine Attar, the pains and mourns he created
Takes away our breaths I adore

From that admirer of Shams, the passion
That enflames the heart, I adore

From Sa’di, Hafez and Nizami
All the cheers, poetry and fruits I adore

Great art thine Rasht, Gorgan and Mazandaran
The same as Caspian Sea I adore

Great art thine Karoun River and Ahvaz
Sweeter than sugar I adore

Glory to thine great Azerbaijan
That first step to danger I adore

Esfahan, thine half of the world
More than the other half I adore

Great art Khorasan the birthplace of the wise
With all my heart and soul, that vast land I adore

Great art thine beautiful Shiraz
The center of talent and art I adore

Thine lands of Kurdistan and Balushistan, same as
The noble fruit tree I adore

Great art thine Kerman and Southern borders
Thus dry and wet, sea and desert I adore

Afghanistan, our same roots which is a garden
In the hands of better than the best I adore

Soqd and Kharazm and their deserts
Alas Qajars had lost, but I adore

Thine Iraq and the long strips of Persian Gulf
Similar to the wall of China I adore

Our ancient Caucasia to Iran
A son in father’s house I adore

Thine yesterday’s legend and tomorrow’s dream
In each its own, both I adore

Thus better than these two, art thee alive
Thine today’s entity I adore

Thine beauty and depth were on top of the world
That ultimate value and danger I adore

Once more arise to the maximum depth
This new color and beauty I adore

Not Easternization, Not Westoxication, Not Tazi-fication
For thee O Ancient Land I adore

Until the world remains, victorious thou shalt be
Strong, awake and fortunate thou shalt be

Translations by Ahreeman X



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