The Inside Assyria Discussion Forum #5

=> Re: Bani: My late, distant uncle who influenced my brother and me in cinema

Re: Bani: My late, distant uncle who influenced my brother and me in cinema
Posted by Marcello (Guest) - Tuesday, August 27 2013, 5:27:52 (UTC)
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I never forget that story you told me about the effect the '68 Olympics had on you. I feel the same about artists, actors and musicians... actually musicians and poets (like the late Iranian poet, Ahmad Shamlou, whose poem's original title was "Marg e Vartan" (Death of Vartan)is a poem that truly moves me considering the story behind it. Vartan, an Armenian communist member of Hezb e Tudeh, was apprehended by the SAVAK and tortured to death... never giving up a single name of his comrades. But the Shah's fascist censors forced the poet, Shamlou to change the title to (Death of Nazeli), a female Armenian name. Still a powerful poem.

Ahmad Shamlou (Death of Nazeli, 1957)

Spring smiled–
and the redbuds flourished.

In the backyard,
the aged lilac drowned–
in thousands of blossoms,
‘Have Faith, Faith!
Being, opt for Being!
Nazeli! Break away, away–
from the cursed hands of Death!’

But Nazeli, proud,
departed in silence;
quenching her flaming rage-
with the shower of her sorrow.

‘Nazeli, Speak!
Speak a word!
Or the bird of silence will hatch–
the egg of your invincible defeat!’

Nazeli spoke not!
And the sun rose–
from the bed of darkness-
to the bath of blood,
and then,
vanished again.


Nazeli spoke not a word!
Nazeli was a Falling Star:
Shining at once, traversing the night–
and fading away.

Nazeli spoke not a word!
Nazeli was a Transient Violet.
Flowering at once, heralding the warmth:
“The Reign of Winter is Over!”
And then, fleeing away–
from the sight.

Nazeli is gone.

(Trans.: MD, May 2010, New Brunswick)

PS. This poem been written for an Iranian-Armenian political prisoner in the pre-revolution Iran, named Vartan Salakhanian, a member of the Tudeh party (the communist party of Iran, in that era; Shamlou himself was a strong sympathizer of the Tudeh and he was arrested several times). As a member of Tudeh party, Vartan has been captured and tortured to death to reveal the names of his comrades but he remained absolutely silent. In the early publications, Shamlou changed the title of the poem from 'Death of Vartan' to 'Death of Nazeli' (a female given name) fearing prosecution for himself.


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