Straining into starlight

Published February 21, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 0 minutes Less than a minute · Share your thoughts
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You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

-Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965)

The Martyrdom of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

Like bees scenting the myrrh and frankincense
Of his flesh, bullets congregate around him;
Blood honeys at the exit wounds in his heart.
Smoke – the nepenthe of his own sweet death – staggers him;
He falls, becoming a garden of perfume.
The faithful swathe him in ivory muslin,
but his flesh goes further, straining into starlight.

George Elliot Clarke
(Lush Dreams, Blue Exile)

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi


Published February 18, 2010 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes · Share your thoughts
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The real “Dead Poets Society”: For a country with an intricate history of beauty and tragedy that reads like an epic poem, it only makes sense those who have woven the fabric of Iranian identity, those most revered throughout history are its poets. Many people in Iran commit ancient poems to the heart, in home and in school, and not one, not two but hundreds of verses. So if you are sitting in a cab, walking through the streets, or whatever– you’ll often hear people humming familiar words, the verses of Hafez, Sa’adi, Ferdowsi, Molana (Rumi)… and each year thousands go each year to visit and pay their respects at their mausoleums, as I had the opportunity to do.

I decided to begin putting up some of the videos I’ve taken, and this is probably my favorite one– it has a nicer background music than I anything I could ever come up with. I hadn’t been to Hafezieh, the resting place of the Persian poet Hafez, since I was seven. The last time I was at the Hafezieh I was absolutely mesmerized. It was the single most beautiful place I’d ever seen. I was awed by it again, though surprised by how much smaller it was compared to what I remembered. Back then, I made two wishes on a coin which I threw in the fountain, one of which was that Hafez would invite me back when I had done something worthy in the world. This was always on my mind and after fifteen years, I figured that the wish must have been taken seriously… However, last summer I was at the Hafezieh again, perhaps by fluke. But the lesson had been learnt and this time I was careful to not make any conditional wishes.

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi