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Seda: Voices of Iran

Rira Abbasi

Iranian poet, fiction writer and peace activist, Rira Abbasi was born in 1962 in Khorramabad, Iran. Acclaimed as Iran’s Lady Poet Laureate and the winner of Parvin Etesami Poetry Award in 2005, Rira is also a member of Iran’s Writers Association and the director of the biannual International Peace Poetry festival since 2007. Black Fairy of Wednesday (2000), No More Guns for this Lor Woman (2001) and her bold collection of love poems Who Loves You More Discreetly? (2002) are among her works. Rira has edited and brought out the first collection of Iranian Peace Poetry (an anthology) in 2002. 


Had the Sky Been Blue

My friend,
sitting on my little shoulders,
Iranian, Bosnian, Iraqi, Afghan….
my friend
for the same of your smile
my shoulders are born 
every morning early
to remove your wounds
although they have shut your smile
with gunpowder
perhaps in the absence of the first war,
second war
third or the last one.
My friend
when you let your silent fly and you spoke
at a distance, the size of one thousand part of the ant’s wing
all the bombs in the world will grew silent
in front of you.
we all know
you are alive beyond the natural strength of man
when in the plan
you are returning home
tired, wounded and abandoned.
Which home are you returning?
When the sky is empty of peace
and the prevailing war
is tearing away your newborn’s eye
until the end of his life
I grieve for your future 
I grieve for the future.
I am tired 
I worry for your future…
I draw a nucleus from the atoms of wounds
your body is thin
I will get my shoulders born wider 
for the same of your smile
had the sky been blue.

Translated by M. Alexandrian



Iranian artist Elahe Heidari


Me or the Mouse

Don't say anything to anyone
I pulled out bread from the mouth of a mouse 
It was war
I wanted bread
and the mouse wanted life 

Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi

The "Call" of Iran's Poetry

I have no right to write poetry
Leaves fall off my shoulder 
There comes a voice
I have no right to write 
Do you still not believe that leaves do fall?
I said I am in silence 
that my tongue...
Look now
on the other side of the street is silence
leaves fall
bad leaves, worse leaves
I have no right to write poetry
the tongue is surrounded with teeth
and the lifted neck of this “call”
is a bullet for goodbye! 

Mourning of what gun?
We die
They go on

I could draw a dove entailed to Picasso 
and destroy it with Cubism 
So that it turns out to be a bull 
with fatal horns

To peace, 
to release is the share of this field
One must either merge or ravage it

Translation: Maryam Ala Amjadi


Poets of Peace

We, children of the world,
With USA, have a word,
We frown,
We demur,
We Protest:
No more war in the world:
It’s enough.
It’s enough.
What dreams, we have at nights!
What horror dreams!
What, if daddy is wounded?
What is our home in dull?
Dear Angela, say please now
O’ children of the world,
What Can I say to us?
I’m ashamed to say, where I come from.
They took daddy to the front
They forced daddy to fight
With whom is he fighting?
Who can answer my question?

O’ daddy, remember!
Never entered in my room
Without knocking at the door
O’ children of the world!
I’m ashamed, when I see.
Like a wolf in Baghdad streets,
Daddy is wandering with dwarf Uncle Sam,
Wreck the doors of the houses,
With their nail–shaped boots.
O’ children, tell the world:
Does a toothless baby have a gun?
O’ children, I’m ashamed.
When I see daddy.
Ruins the houses. Kills mothers and babies,
O’ children!
O’ children!
How can I say where I come from?
I’m ashamed
I’m upset.

We children of the world,
With USA have a word.
Every land has a treasure.
Gold and iron and steel,
Tobacco, sugar, oil, and wheat
Grapes, dates, olives, and endless seas
In children’s world,
Everything has a worth.
Their flags has a color, has a shape,
has a star, has a moon.
With smiling orange sun
Watch the cartoons!
Watch the animals in jungles!
The mouse and the cat are kind,
They love their children.
Shame on you!
Getting a piece of bread is not hard.
It needs no gun and no fight.
Every house has a door and window.
Daddy, mommy and their kids,

They need peace and comfort,
Children need to study, to be happy,
Watch football games, pretty flowers, and swim.
They want to grow up,
They hate bad dreams,
They want to think,
They like to fly like swallows,
Having a green branch in their mouth.
Fly high and plant olives on the moon.
Let’s be kind to each other,
No matter how much bread, how many children
Appreciate each other,
Sing with a healthy soul:
We need no more bread, not a big belly.
We need no guns, no wounded men in fights,
Hostility is meaningless.
If we are friends,
If we are good neighbors
We can borrow; we can lend water and bread
We need no war!
Why are rockets expensive?

Translated by M. Alexandrian



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