A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Poem of the week

In 1985 Paul Simon released the album Graceland, featuring black South-African musicians and Singers. This was during the Apartheid years. When the album became a hit a magical thing happened: for anyone listening to the songs the black South-Africans stopped being a colour, a race or a statistic. They became human beings with the same spectrum of emotions, hopes, desires and pains as the listener's.

The songs celebrate the cultural differences between us: the way the rythms are played and the melodies are constructed are typical to that part of Africa. The songs also united us more than ever. One could rationaly oppose Apartheid, but now the heart would also cry out "how can you let the people who made such beautiful music suffer so much?".

I grew up in Amsterdam with very little reading material about the struggle of my parents in Iran. Ofcourse they would tell me about their lives, but some aspects of their past I only understood after reading the books of Milan Kundera and Gabriel Garcia Márquez. It doesn't matter so much wether you fall in love or lose a friend under Latin American Junta rule, a Communist dictatorship or the reign of the Shah of Persia. As I absorbed these stories I started to care about the struggles of the people I read about. The fall of the Eartern European dictatorships are also a victory in my life, and give hope to the people of Iran.

The way to save this world is very easy. Listen to the songs of all the people in the world, read their books and poems and they, having shared their stories with you, will be your friends. In return offer them your jewels: the stories your parents and grandparents told you when you were small, the works of your great poets, the melodies that comforted you when your heart was broken.

The following poem was written 32 years ago by the Mexican writer Octavio Paz. It is true to this day.


Primero de Enero (January first)

The doors of the year open,
like the doors of language,
onto the unknown.
Last night you said:
we must draw signs,
sketch a landscape, hatch a plot
on the unfolded page
of paper and the day.
Tomorrow we must invent,
the reality of this world.

When I opened my eyes it was late.
For a second of a second
I felt like the Aztec
on the rock-strewn peak,
the cracks of horizons
for the uncertain return of time.

No, the year came back.
It filled the room,
and my glances could almost touch it.
Time, without our help,
had arranged
in the same order as yesterday,
the houses on the empty street,
the snow on the houses,
the silence on the snow.

You were beside me,
still sleeping.
The day had invented you,
but you hadn't yet accepted
your day's invention,
nor mine.
You were still in another day.

You were beside me,
and I saw you, like the snow,
asleep among the appearances.
Time, without our help,
invents houses, streets, trees,
sleeping women.

When you open your eyes
we'll walk, anew,
among the hours and their inventions,
and lingering among the appearances
we'll testify to time and its conjugations.
We'll open the doors of this day,
and go into the unknown.

1 comment:

nima said...

mnHi dear cousin again
I am realy waiting 2 c further more if u can write some movie critics