Fatemah Esmaeili, A Poem for Iran

A Poem for Iran PNG


A Poem for Iran


With every trifling hiss

dies your memory in my chest

The heart is not eternal, it can too detest.

Every night,

amid the trifling hiss of my chronic coughs,

my bedmate, nightmare or my feverish delirium.

Every night,

I constantly see you

on the ceiling

or the wall

like a shadow,

amid awareness and sleep;

Soon, you’ll fall on me

planting pain in my dreams

and not let me go!

A fistful of soil, injured, freezing, faraway

and how I miss that fistful of soil,

didn’t you know?

An expanse of silent sea

Filled with fish,

A handful of sudden sobs

a sky of sighs;

A class in a school

my school friends

you are!

Or swallows on migration

Or like an airport runway,

A flight with sliced wings

you are!

Like a crashed flight,

Vultures on corpses, with their new growing wings.

you are!

Or a passport with a dark red cover

Travelling with you

frightful, unsettling

it is.

At a border

There’s always someone to call,

There’s always a beloved to leave behind.

The hands and the eyes of my mother

The colour of my last sobs

you are!



Flying with you, a giant bird with iron wings

Landing on you, a cloudy, drizzling land.

Not Khorasan, neither Istanbul nor Tehran

you are!

A lost, vague land

Abandoned behind the bridge’s lingering yawn.

There you are!

Anywhere and nowhere

in wakefulness, drunkenness

In sleep and in madness

Fibres in my lungs, where you lived thread by thread

A thick bundle of coughs

Tell me who you are.


Every day, wherever I go, overshadowed by this rain,

I say a hundred times:

But will I be so, can I be there… in Iran!



Fatemah Esmaeili is a currently studying for a DPhil in Persian Literature at Wadham College. She published her first book of poetry in June 2013, after winning the prize for Best Young Persian Poet in the Persian Poetry Festival in 2012. A credit also goes to Rouhi Shafiei, who helped translate the poem.

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