a poem for this very place. this very day. 2 poems by Mansour Noorbakhsh

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a poem for this very place and this very day

(In protest of the law restricting Internet access and cyberspace in Iran)

and who knows how many times every day i come to visit this “electronic” virtual page. and I look again and again. i look at the screenshots of a book you’ve posted or the photo or the text or a smiley face bursting into tears from harsh laughter. and this silence that can only be clearly heard in this click click. and this distance that can be shortened only on this dim screen of my cellphone. let aside that now is the end of sunset. and the last rays of a cloudy day are going to become a memory of these days.  people have taken refuge in the land of their own loneliness. like that long time ago, and maybe not so long ago when we were students in university. not so long ago, because how long are we supposed to live? and it seems we still belong to the previous two or three generations. the ones who, when their first child was dying, had been told that the first child is the share of a crow, the second perhaps the share of a jackal, and the third the share of an animal that had been passing by. and all of that said to soothe the breaking heart of a mother who had borne the burden of pregnancy for months expecting to revel in the laughter of her baby but deprived of that. and we – “i” – or “we” belong to a generation that has borne the burden of our lives to soothe our hearts with “never mind, our life was also the share of a jackal.” a jackal. This jackal as if his stingy eyes and cruel heart was and is only looking to take our life. and how many times a day I come to look at the page of a book, a photo, anything you have posted. and I remember the days of course, registration or exams, and circling around an old heater when we were students. An old heater that did not heat anywhere except its immediate surroundings. and our glances that had not been allowed to stroll romantically but sometimes ran secretly to follow the sound of lovely footsteps that were still recognizable amid the tumult of repeating the frenzied mottos and the lamented prayers without turning our heads and eyes from a coursebook that we were not reading.

[This poem is written in both English and Persian languages. The Persian language version of this poem was recited in the Ottawa Persian Radio Namaashoum. https://persianradio.net/

(A prayer for Afghans after brutal Taliban advance in August 2021)

The sunshine was nothing 
more than a dream 
in the commotion of an evening 
panting the sigh of relief.
Call the rain which doesn’t decline hopes. 

I want to sing the bitterest romances 
to have no one believed in any smile 
and to have no one despaired for a glance.
Thus, death never expects any resurrection 
and soil never promises the grow of 
any grape vine to make us drunken 
And no drunken look disturbs the peace of any stone.

I want to sing the bitterest romances 
so that every heart embrace sin 
despite a certainty that casts a shadow 
over the peace of that glorifiers 
those buyers of lies and sellers of death.

Those who see purity only 
in the captivity of virgin girls 
and seek faith only 
in the slavery of men in love. 
Those who believe selling opium 
for buying weapon is permissible. 
Death-Believers who 
don’t trust the meaning of life.

I want to sing the bitterest mourning-song, 
as if infidels had not fought 
but only against their own silence.

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Mansour Noorbakhsh writes and translates poems in both English and Farsi, his first language. He tries to be a voice for freedom, human rights and environment in his writings. He believes a dialog between people around the world is an essential need for developing a peaceful world, and poetry helps this dialog echoes the human rights. Currently he is featuring The Contemporary Canadian Poets in a weekly Persian radio program https://persianradio.net/. The poet’s bio and poems are translated into Farsi and read to the Persian-Canadian audiences. Both English (by the poets) and Farsi (by him) readings are on air. This is a project of his to build bridges between the Persian-Canadian communities by way of introducing them to contemporary Canadian poets. His book about the life and work of Sohrab Sepehri entitled, “Be Soragh e Man Agar Miaeed” (trans. “If you come to visit me”) is published in 1997 in Iran. And his English book length poem; “In Search of Shared Wishes” is published in 2017 in Canada. His English poems are published in “WordCity monthly” and “Infinite Passages” (anthology 2020 by The Ontario Poetry Society). He is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and he is an Electrical Engineer, P.Eng. He lives with his wife, his daughter and his son in Toronto, Canada.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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