Diary Of An Iranian Teacher
چهارشنبه 21 بهمن‌ماه سال 1383

Ahmad Shamloo
Born December 12 1925; Died June 24 2000

In this dead end
They smell your mouth
To find out if you have told someone: 
I love you!

They smell your heart!

Such a strange time it is, my dear;

And they punish Love
At thoroughfares
By flogging.

We must hide our Love in dark closets.

In this crooked dead end of a bitter cold
They keep their fire alive
By burning our songs and poems;
Do not place your life in peril by your thoughts!

Such a strange time it is, my dear!

He who knocks on your door in the middle of the night,
His mission is to break your Lamp!
We must hide our Lights in dark closets!

Behold! butchers are on guard at thoroughfares
With their bloodstained cleavers and chopping-boards;

Such a strange time it is, my dear!

They cut off the smiles from lips,
and the songs from throats!

We must hide our Emotions in dark closets!

They barbecue canaries
On a fire of jasmines and lilacs!

Such a strange time it is, my dear!

Intoxicated by victory,
Satan is enjoying a feast at our mourning table!

We must hide our God in dark closets!

Ahmad Shamloo, July 1979

In the early days of the Islamic revolution, young men and women were sent into the streets to enforce the moral code of the shari'a or religious law, in some cases acting violently and excessively. They "smelled the mouth" if they suspected someone of drinking alcohol, which could be followed by a lashing, and they wiped lipstick from women's mouths, sometimes even cutting the lips with a razor.

from Modern Persian Poetry, edited by Mahmud Kianush, Rockingham Press, 1996

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