A Very Happy New Year
I don't know why everyone
is still trying to find out
whether heaven and hell exist.
Why do we need more evidence?
They exist here on this very Earth.
Heaven is standing atop Mount Qasioun
overlooking the Damascene sights
with the wind carrying Qabbani's
dulcet words all around you.
And hell is only four hours away
in Aleppo where children's cries
drown out the explosions of mortar bombs
until they lose their voice,
their families, and their limbs.
Yes, hell certainly does exist
right now, at this moment,
as I pen this poem. And all we're doing
to extinguish this hellfire
is sighing, shrugging, liking, and sharing.
Tell me: what exactly does that make us?
Are we any better than the gatekeepers of hell?
~ Kamand Kojouri
by Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor (1885-1952)
O bulbul, let the freedom urge possess your soul!
Bid good bye to your cage, step out,
Gather your flowers and enjoy their bloom!
Speak out bold and clear. Your voice
Need not falter with fear
As when you sang within your cage.
In bondage, they served you ample food.
Now gather in the fields what grain you can,
And see how sweet is food in freedom!
Though unfreedom made you stammer,
Your call enchanted the birds of the air,
For it was born of love.
You can't remain with folded wings!
Plume them, fly and see the world.
See flowers now with eyes of freedom.
You don't know the latest about the garden!
Forget about the past; sing new songs now.
Mahjoor, throw away this belt of bondage!
From now, you are free as a bird.
Your heart commands, your voice obeys!
Beware of her fair hair, for she excels
All women in the magic of her locks;
And when she winds them round a young man's neck,
She will not ever set him free again.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
From Faust as translated by Shelley
Painting: Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti