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Simin Behbahani: The lovely, the great, the fascinating Lioness Lady of Iranian Letters

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran


Simin Behbahani is without doubt the most intriguing lady of letters in Iran.  Not only she is talented, hard working and beautiful, but there are two characteristics that I admire most about her.  She has a great sense of humor, and she is always supporting good causes. Whether they are for freedom of speech, women's liberation, building a college in Bam or a celebration, a remembrance of one of her many friends and colleagues or a demo as well as other worthy projects, there she is at the frontline along with other young people, as she is truly young at heart herself and never afraid to speak out.


Recently I had the pleasure to go to the lovely little apartment that she shares with her son Ali who is a well-known translator.  There, while she was talking to us, she would not stop offering us cold drinks or fruits in that hot afternoon.  I noticed her big desk was filled with her notes and drafts of works she wanted to send to printers among others.  I was completely mesmerized by her energy, modesty and femininity.



Like many of you, I look forward to her next book which we hope to come out soon.  When I asked when we can expect that, she said she has several works at hand but she hopes that one or two will be out before the end of the Iranian year. A few years back (1999) a book of her poems was translated into English titled A Cup of Sin in the West by Farzaneh Milani & Kaveh Safa and published by Syracus University Press. There is also another book in English which includes her poems called Wounded Rose along with works of three other Iranian Poets (published by Readers Int. in 1980).



It's Time to Mow the Flowers

It's time to mow the flowers,
don't procrastinate.
Fetch the sickles, come,
don't spare a single tulip in the fields.
The meadows are in bloom:
who has ever seen such insolence?
The grass is growing again:
step nowhere else but on its head.
Blossoms are opening on every branch,
exposing the happiness in their hearts:
such colorful exhibitions must be stopped.
Bring your scalpels to the meadow
to cut out the eyes of flowers.
So that none may see or desire,
let not a seeing eye remain.
I fear the narcissus is spreading its corruption:
stop its displays in a golden bowl
on a six-sided tray.
What is the use of your ax,
if not to chop down the elm tree?
In the maple's branches
allow not a single bird a moment's rest.
My poems and the wild mint
bear messages and perfumes.
Don't let them create a riot with their wild singing.
My heart is greener than green,
flowers sprout from the mud and water of my being.
Don't let me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.

--Translated by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa




... Payvand News - 8/10/05 ... --

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