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Simin Behbahani


Simin Behbahani was born in Tehran (1928).

Poetical Works :

  • The Broken Lute [Seh-tar-e Shekasteh, 1951; the tar is a
    Persian musical instrument with five strings, and seh-tar is a type of Tar with three strings];
  • Footprint [Ja-ye Pa, 1954];
  • Candelabrum [Chelcheragh, 1955];
  • Marble [Marmar, 1961];
  • Resurrection [Rastakhiz, 1971];
  • A Line of Speed and Fire [Khatti ze Sor'at va Atash, 1980, a collection of modern ghazals];
  • Arzhan Plain [Dasht-e Arzhan, 1983];
  • Paper Dress [Kaghazin Jameh, USA, 1992];
  • A Windowful of freedom [Yek Daricheh Azadi, 1995].

One of Simin Behbahani's poems from the book Modern Persian Poetry by Mahmud Kianush:




Gracefully she approached,

in a dress of bright blue silk;

With an olive branch in her hand,

and many tales of sorrows in her eyes.

Running to her, I greeted her,

and took her hand in mine:

Pulses could still be felt in her veins;

warm was still her body with life.


"But you are dead, mother", I said;

"Oh, many years ago you died!"

Neither of embalmment she smelled,

Nor in a shroud was she wrapped.


I gave a glance at the olive branch;

she held it out to me,

And said with a smile,

"It is the sign of peace; take it."


I took it from her and said,

"Yes, it is the sign of...", when

My voice and peace were broken

by the violent arrival of a horseman.

He carried a dagger under his tunic

with which he shaped the olive branch

Into a rod and looking at it

he said to himself:

"Not too bad a cane

for punishing the sinners!"

A real image of a hellish pain!

Then, to hide the rod,

He opened his saddlebag.

in there, O God!

I saw a dead dove, with a string tied

round its broken neck.


My mother walked away with anger and sorrow;

my eyes followed her;

Like the mourners she wore

a dress of black silk.


"Modern Persian Poetry"
(An anthology in English)

Modern Persian poetry
Click to purchase the book.


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Copyright© 1999 K. Kianush, Art Arena