Aphelion Issue 237, Volume 23
March 2019
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A New Flag is Declared

by Cyrus Mahan

In the dusk of the night,
Under the watchful eyes of the guards and the guns.
Ill write a poem,
On your shirt.
A multihued shirt,
Coming from the torture chamber.
A shirt of cotton and blood.
A shirt of torment, torture and anguish.
Ill write a poem
On the midst of the night

In the milieu of red.
A poem,
A single word poem.
People will make it a flag,
Raised, full staff,
Written on it a poem,
A single word poem.
On the daybreak of Iran,
In the milieu of blue
The earth is given birth
To a new flag;
Written on it:
"Freedom," a single word poem.

© 2003 Cyrus Mahan

Cyrus Mahan is a prominent Iranian writer and poet living out of his country since 1986. He has published numerous articles, short stories and poems, all concerned with the Iranian struggle for freedom, democracy and equality. He was arrested two times when Shah(the monarch) was in power, and spent four years in jail during this present regime. Critics consider him the most socially conscious poet and writer of to day's Iran.

This poem is written in prison and smuggled out by someone whose prison terms ended in 1983. The poem is originally written in Persian.

This is the story as he once told an interviewer:
In 1983 a prisoner moved into our jail from the infamous Evin prison. He brought us a shirt, blood dried all over. The bloody shirt of Mahmood Aazadi (his family name means freedom in Persian (Farsi)) a close friend of mine. After being tormented and tortured for months, he was executed in 1982, in the city of Amool, north of Iran, with many others. He was a teacher and a member of Sarbedaran, a leftist group. It is with his bloody shirt that they, the Iranian people will make their flag, a flag that belongs to the oppressed people around the globe.

Find more by Cyrus Mahan in the Author Index.

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