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poetry The Iranian Ode to Joy

The Persian American poet Majid Naficy warns of celebrating a change of regimes too soon.

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The Iranian Ode to Joy
By Majid Naficy

Remember
We, too, in the Revolution
Sang the Ode to Joy
When statues fell,
Prisons opened
And we embraced each other.

Alas, the sparks of that joy
Burned the red-light district,
Ignited the “Holy War”
And set up execution squads.

And yet, my friend,
We deserve freedom!
Let us resume the Ode to Joy
And build our joyland together.

Majid Naficy, the Arthur Rimbaud of Persian poetry, fled Iran in 1983, a year and a half after the execution of his wife, Ezzat in Tehran. Since 1984 Majid has been living in West Los Angeles. He has published two collections of poetry in English Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque, Books, 1999) and Father and Son (Red Hen Press, 2003) as well as his doctoral dissertation at UCLA Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature: A Return to Nature in the Poetry of Nima Yushij (University Press of America, 1997). Majid has also published more than 20 books of poetry and essay in Persian.