Talking with Mr. Mahrami

Your tears will never muddy the dust at the Threshold of that Door: use mine.
Your voice will never crack in grief at the Grandeur of that Court: use mine.
Your brow will never kiss the ground at the Entrance of that Gate: use mine.

I have dried the flowers of your bouquet to take with me when I go,
the gerber daisies, the button palms, the golden rod and the baby’s breath.
But can you tell me, please, how I can dry my tears?
My courage will never brave the challenge of the Summons of that Call:

 

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Some poems you don’t so much write, as you record them: they are gifts given to you and are, frankly, probably better than anything else you can write with your own simple craft. Talking with Mr. Mahrami is an example of one such poem.

Dhabihu’llah Mahrami was a member of the Bahá’í Faith, who, for 10 years, was immorally jailed in Iran solely for the crime of his choice in religion. He died in his prison cell of unknown causes on December 15, 2005. In response to this heinous act—an act in contradiction of every moral precept known in the civilized world, and specifically of Iran’s own constitution which guarantees freedom of religion—the Bahá’ís of the world were asked to hold memorial prayer services in Mr. Mahrami’s dear memory. My wife and I were, of course, honored to do so and this poem springs from that event.

Coincidentally, just before that memorial was held, we had just received news that our family had been assigned a pilgrimage spot within the coming year. Pilgrimage is the opportunity to spend 9 days visiting and praying at various historic holy sites in and around Haifa and Akka, Israel. It is in this area that Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, spent the last 40 years of His life as a prisoner in exile and it is also there that the World Headquarters of the Bahá’í Faith is now located.

The spot referred to as the “Threshold of that Door”, “Grandeur of that Court” and “Entrance of that Gate” in the first stanza, is Bahá’u’lláh’s Shrine, where He is buried. The flowers referred to in the second stanza actually was the bouquet that we bought for Mr. Mahrami’s memorial service. We did dry them and tearfully bring them to that Shrine in his honor, in what was, to us, an incredibly humbling and fulfilling gesture of love and gratitude.

As to Talking With Mr. Mahrami, I have a favor to ask of you and please, forgive me in advance for this little conceit. But I want to know if the poem “works” for you. It has an odd structure in that it ends with an open colon. My hope is that you, as the reader, filled that empty space in with Mr. Mahrami’s voice and that in your mind you heard him say, “use mine,” hence fulfilling the concept of the title, a conversation. That was the hope anyway; I look forward to your thoughts on the idea and its execution.

Thank you for reading Talking with Mr. Mahrami. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Talking with Mr. Mahrami

  1. Quite fascinating ! Yes, John, I do like this piece, and your creativity … I appreciate how you invite the reader in with a question, “But can you tell me, please, how I can dry my tears?” … and the end also, for me, is a mix of an invitation, to consider the call, and to enter the mystery of what follows the colon … an open colon, contrasting with a closed door.
    “My courage will never brave the challenge of the Summons of that Call:”

    • Thank you so much for being so positive about this poem! I have to confess that the relative quiet which this poem received surprised me. To me, it is the best thing I have ever written and, as I say in the post, in some ways I don’t think of it as ‘mine’ but a gift I was given to transpose. It’s nice to see that someone likes it!