Tag Archives: Iran

Please

There is a tear that sometimes falls
and in falling, fails, yet in failing,
flies to the hearts
of those we love the most.
Why/why/why we ask, and then again, why?
Please, let it be soon!

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the arrest, then the application of trumped up accusations and finally the immoral conviction and sentencing, in Iran, of a group of Bahá’ís referred to as the Yarán-i-Irán, the “Friends of Iran.” Despite the fact that the Iranian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and despite the fact that every civilized country of the world regards this as a most fundamental aspect of basic human rights, the Yarán, and indeed 156 Bahá’ís in total—three of whom are infants—continue to be incarcerated for no other reason then their choice of religion. Typically referred to as “prisoners of conscience” I prefer the term “prisoners of certitude” because every one of these 156 could buy their freedom by a recantation of their faith…and yet all chose to remain.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please see Five Years Too Many.

In the end, all I can say is this: I am blessed and humbled to be one of those permitted to say a prayer in thanks and in honor of their sacrifice and strength, and to beg for their on-going steadfastness. In comparison to their sacrifice, I do not deserve even this station, but I am grateful for it.

Thank you for reading Please. 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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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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It’s a start anyway…

It has been my hope for some time to start a blog on my poetry. Unfortunately, time always seemed to be the issue. Having finally come to the conclusion that time will always be an issue, I have decided to forge ahead and do what I can, when I can, as I can.

Henceforth, the title of the blog will be the title of the poem, but for this first post, the poem is in the body of the post.

Immolation

Fire is colored by unspent fuel
carbon, blood and sinew;
the hottest flame
can’t be seen
and burns the deepest in you.

Immolation was written in reaction to the on-going persecution of my Bahá’í brothers and sisters in Iran, but also, in part, to the entire history of religious persecution. I wanted, as briefly as possible, to sum up the intensity of the pain engendered, while at the same time describing the fortitude required by these heroes and the magnitude of the sacrifice that persecution endured for the love of God creates.

Thank you for reading Immolation. 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

© 2012 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: © 2012 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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