Ahmad Shamlou

They smell your breath,
lest you might have said I love you.
They smell your heart.
These are strange times, my darling.
The butchers are stationed at each
crossroads with bloody clubs and cleavers.

-Ahmad Shamlou

This poem was lifted from a New Yorker article about reform and repression in Iran, coupled with an interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I recommend reading it if you have any interest  in how things really are in Iran.

About Daniel Fitzsimmons

Staff writer for the Manhattan weeklies Our Town, Our Town Downtown and the West Side Spirit.
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2 Responses to Ahmad Shamlou

  1. Valerie says:

    Truly – I tried to like it, and listened to it from diff perspectives, but in the end, it was just very reminiscent of the stuff they’re trying to pawn off as art these days, by putting “modern” in front of it. Anyone who doesn’t see the “genius” in it is considered ignorant….but actually – the emporer really IS naked.

  2. You’re reading it from a Western point of view. Shamlou is a revered poet in Iran and the poem is about how freedom is so restricted you constantly have to be aware of what you say and who you say it to. At least that’s how I read it. If you want, read the New Yorker article I link to and it’ll probably provide a little context.

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