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The Song of Abraham in Fire / Ahmad Shamlu

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A Shamlu

Under the bloody tumbling of twilight
there stands a man of another kind,
who wanted the land to be green,
who wanted love to be worthy of the most beautiful of women;
For this to him
was not so worthless an offer
as to become dust and stone.
What a man! what a man!
who said,”better for the heart
to sink in blood by the seven swords of love;
and better for the lips to utter the most beautiful name.
And a mountain-like hero, thus in love
crossed the bloody battlefield of destiny
with the heels of Achilles
an invulnerable hero
the secret of whose death
was the sorrow of love
and the depth of solitude.
“Ay, sad Esfandiâr
your eyes
better closed.
“Was a NO,
just one NO
enough
to make my fate.
I only cried NO
I refused to sink.
“I was
and I became
not as a bud becomes a flower
nor as a root becomes a shoot
nor as a seedling becomes a forest
but as a common man becomes a martyr,
for heavens to worship him.
“I was not a servile little slave
and my way to a heavenly paradise
was not the path of submission and servility.
I deserved a God of another kind,
worthy of a creature,
who does not humble himself
for the indispensable morsel.
“And a God
of another kind
I created.”
Alas! mountain-like hero
that you were
and mountain-like,
formidable and firm
before falling on the ground
you were dead.
Yet neither God nor Satan
but an idol wrote your destiny
an idol whom others worshipped
an idol whom others worshipped.

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