Iran Memories and Other Poems: an Iranian-American Woman's Journey

Iran Memories and Other Poems: an Iranian-American Woman's Journey

by Zahra Karimipour


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Zahra Karimipour's poetry paints a nostalgic picture of life in 1950s Boroujerd, a small town in the west of Iran. The realities of life in Boroujerd reveal a picture of a preindustrialized society, where life had not been touched by advanced machinery; life was simple, but vibrant.
Karimipour's memories of other places in Iran such as Tehran and the Caspian Sea are emotional accounts of her reflections on endearing memories. Her poem "Oh, Caspian," shows her longing for the times she visited the Caspian Sea; her poem "Ah, Tehran," reveals her regret of losing a city to population explosion and urbanization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466974845
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 02/14/2013
Pages: 78
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.19(d)

Read an Excerpt

Iran Memories and Other Poems

an Iranian-American Woman's Journey

By Zahra Karimipour

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Zahra Karimipour
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4669-7484-5




    Long Gone, But Living

    Down that long, narrow alley
    Sits an old house of mud brick
    With large wooden doors, so aged and rough
    As if they are ancient
    Heavy, squeaky, they dwarf and engulf me

    My small hands press on the giant doors
    And I alight into the courtyard
    Two giant poplars grow like arms
    Two arched, low rooms make the eyes on right and left
    Bright pink periwinkles adorn the high walls to the right
    But at their feet
    Sits the cave-like, dark, monstrous room

    Bread is baking here
    Large heads of beets and pumpkins are in the cave's belly
    To transform into food fit for the gods
    The aroma fills me, intoxicates me, makes me impatient

    I sprinkle the courtyard with water
    And take in the scent of brick
    It is early October
    Tea Boils on the majestic Samovar set on the large wooden cot
    On which lies the threadbare, red Persian rug
    Waiting to be filled with people of Olympus, in my childhood eyes

    Mother and neighbors join
    Talking, laughing, drinking tea, tasting the Manna
    Creating the heavenly sight
    They are, perhaps, oblivious to

    I look at the scene awe-struck
    Sounds, scents, tales, and memories
    All invite me to become part of my childhood home

    But only in my dreams
    Only in my dreams!


    Borujerd's Winter Night

    Night's black veil is on my town
    It's a winter night
    Streetlights cast hazy shadows
    On the old, bent man walking home
    On the mother and child, ghostly shadows
    Rushing home to flee the cold winter night

    A man old, cold, and silent
    Is waiting, out in his chariot seat
    Looking tiredly, to be told a destination
    So he may go on that cold, harsh winter night

    Woman and man mount, like kings and queens of the movies
    Helping their young in
    To watch the horses lap the streets
    Cold horses, tired horses, they seem to be
    Children's laughter fills the air
    They are riding on the winged horses, it seems

    The ragged man smiles
    Lightly whips the horses
    And whispers songs from his steaming mouth
    In the harsh, cold winter night

    The horses' hoofs are loud
    Ta ta ... ta ta ... ta ta ...
    The only sounds in the silence of the cold winter night

    "Boro yalla, boro yalla," mumbles the charioteer
    His mouth sending vapor into the air
    His frozen hands dry and callous
    Swinging the whiplash, to command and reign
    In the harsh, cold winter night

    Ragged-layered and wrinkled
    Is this lonely figure of the night
    Cold, numb and toothless
    Out on the chariot
    Driving men, women, and children
    In the harsh, cold winter nights

    These agents of the night
    Are the spirit of the town
    Leading horses day and night
    All seasons
    And in the harsh, cold winter nights

    Silent and pensive, they are the soul of my town
    Always serving, they are the heart of my town


    Mehregan Elementary

    Still remember the air that made our noses to glow red
    Walking to school in black, shiny boots
    Immersed in water and mud, lovingly caressing the rain

    Still remember the cold
    Hid our heads in our bosoms tight
    To walk that long way in our little girlish might

    Also remember the sun
    Walking on dry autumn leaves
    "Crunch," "crunch," "crunch," and "crunch"
    Music to our wondering ears

    Mehregan got near soon
    Stepped into the threshold firm
    Felt like the moon amid the stars

    Ran, giggled, made circles with other girls
    Showed off ribbons, shoes, and pin
    Told tales of notebook and pen
    Girlish voices ringing loud, just like sounds of parias

    Umbrella of shiny hairs
    We then sat us down again until ...

    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding ...
    Rang the bell, and each class lined up in a tail
    First grade, second grade
    Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, all girls
    For the morning process, all ears

    Then the principal Ms. Hemati said
    This girl and that, that girl and this come to the center of the
    Since you're exemplary in every way
    "I've checked their outfits and finger nails," said she aloud
    "Everyone be neat and tidy like them school wide"

    Then there came hot milk in steel cups for all
    To be had with sugar cubes white
    Right there in the chilly yard

    Still taste that milk today
    As I warm up my milk just like that every day

    Classes marched softly to the rooms
    And we all sat at our wooden benches one by one
    The heater flamed dragon-like
    As gathered three or four of us around
    To warm our little hands and feet one by one

    As the lady teacher arrived, we all stood up
    In awe of that goddess bright
    She checked everyone as she walked
    If she saw an untidy soul
    Made sure she told her to clean up

    Our day filled with lessons, tales, giggles, and fun
    Till time came for sweet home and embrace of mom
    In blue uniforms and ribbons white
    Girls flooded out happy and proud
    To walk on dry, cold leaves again
    To make them "crunch," "crunch," and "crunch"


    Childhood Fun

    Imagine you in your little town
    Fifty or sixty years past
    In a narrow alley full of boys, full of girls
    In a summer afternoon or early fall
    What games you played to keep alive?

    We might have had a plastic car
    Or a hand-made ugly doll
    But never regretted such a lack
    Since we played deeply for some fun

    No Atari or video games
    No TV, video, or VCR
    No sophisticated Batman, Superman
    Or Barbie dolls

    How in the world we got along
    In that narrow alley all summer long
    Hamid, Saeed, Shahab, Mahmood, Majid
    Azam, Pari, Shahin, Mahin, Mehry, Shahnaz
    Gathered round with rocks in hand
    Which didn't cost any at all

    They sat themselves down on the ground
    Carried rocks on back of hands
    And some they put on the ground
    Bet how many could throw in the air
    And how many they could catch
    While collecting from the ground
    "Ye Ghol De Ghol" was the game
    They played, laughed, won, and lost
    Bet that was lots of hearty deal and talk
    When eyes met and veins bulged
    To prove that they honestly scored
    This was real work and deal
    Not staring at a dumb computer screen

    Another game, favorite of all
    Was turning wheel of a broken bike
    And push it down the alley with a stick
    On and on
    Girls and boys waited their turns
    To be the wheel's master for one, two, or three rounds
    Oh, Golly was this fun!
    Made the wheel run as long as it spun
    What better exercise than this?
    Hearts and lungs and muscles all
    Took part in that Olympic run
    This was real work and deal
    Not staring at a dumb computer screen

    How about those other games?
    Dodge ball, Badminton, or Hopscotch
    Or bike renting in the neighborhood or school yard
    As far as we can know, we were engaged in active fun
    Throwing, catching, getting bulging veins
    To prove we honestly scored
    This was real work and deal
    Not staring at a dumb computer screen

    Childhood obesity?
    No doubt" NO"
    Childhood boredom? Not that we could see
    Rivalry for better toys? Not that we could perceive

    Parents were lucky those days too
    They had the wisdom and the truth
    Too many toys spoiled children's joy
    So content we were, our parents too
    Turned out as normal as we could do

    Then at night
    As soon as we had something light
    We were deep in sleep tight
    Running, breathing outdoor air
    Smelling roses in the yard
    Taught us things of land and air
    Plus plenty of oxygen
    Other attributes were rosy cheeks
    With no fat or double chins


    Bread Sellers

    Carriage wheels' musical sounds
    Pedestrians' footsteps, tapping sounds
    Everyone lively, agile and fast
    Straight, crosswise, come and go
    Bumping into other passers-by
    Dance on stage one can surmise!

    Midmorning air crisp and soft
    Men and women purchasing goods
    Children to their mothers hang
    Cry one minute, the other laugh
    Shrills plentiful fill the air
    Day has begun. Spring life for sure is on

    "Nooneh dugha," "Bado Biya,"
    "Bado Biya," "Nooneh dugha," rings aloud
    Bread sellers yell their goods
    Line the street, squatting like umbrellas
    One here, one there, many they are
    As far as eyes can see

    Dolls in stores' windows they are
    Of every "Lori" dress style
    Blouses of crimson red and blue
    Of lilac, orange, and maroon
    Black, beaded vests over blouse
    Headbands adorned with nickel coins
    Jingle while their heads they turn

    Of shapely bodies these women are
    Rock-like faces these women have
    Faces tinted by the sun, their eyes with vigor shine
    Silky luminous their hair is
    Brownish are their cheeks and hands
    With tough labor touched they are
    Majestic with youth are the young
    The old traced are by time
    With no care, seemingly all of them are

    Get close and ask for some bread
    They laughingly hand you what they made

    Moon's face is their fancy bread
    Round, thin, tender, of mythical grade
    Rolled on the hot, round stone in the wild
    By dandelions, ponies, and their tent
    Facing mountains, by streams
    Streams their spirit is
    Land and sky their comrades, their ease

    Free are these men, women
    Bear their kind, raise their kind
    Under the sun
    In the earth's lonely embrace

    A few" rials" their tantalizing bread
    Made on the round, smooth, black stone on the rocks
    Under the bluest sky
    By their tent, their horse, goat, and child
    Beside desert thorns, flowers wild

    Streets of Borujerd
    Breathe with these women's sight
    They rest on Borujerd to sell their edible art
    They are the heartbeats of my town
    In my childhood eyes


    The Woman of "Lorestan"

    You sit on the ground
    Under you lying the threadbare, aged Lorestani rug
    Alive in orange red, in paisleys of darkened
    Green and blue
    Manifesting the gravels underneath
    It is no soft surface

    The wall of the room you face
    It is an old wall, a cracked wall
    Manifesting the damp for years at the root

    The wall shows years in turquoise blue
    Like the walls in Taos Pueblos homes
    An alcove plastered on the wall, holding an old oil lamp
    The sole ornament of your rugged, yet lively dwelling

    You sit on the ground
    Your skirt, an umbrella of
    Blue, orange, yellow, and green, a tenacious sphere
    Your vest is of black taffeta worn on
    The tight red blouse with pale ruffles
    On which falls your translucent pink headscarf tightened at
    your young chin

    You are the power of Lorestan!
    With firm brownish skin as soft as your horse's fur
    Shining, strong eyes, strong brows, lips
    And hands

    And your loom stands tall upon which your hand moves
    Like those of Orpheus' at the harp
    To weave colored dreams unto the rug

    You are a weaver
    In silence weaving magic
    Are these magnificent
    Hues and shapes
    The tongue of your soul, impregnating with life
    My bare floors

    Are you Athena, the adroit weaver
    Whom no others could rival?
    Has your loom become your voice?
    Are you speaking your life story in the threads
    Walked on heedlessly?

    Are you the divine Penelope? Does your tapestry
    Weave magic to restore faith?

    You sit for hours on end
    To weave destiny
    Your immortal tale
    To adorn countless homes
    Aware or immersed in oblivion
    Of what your toil truly is

    Yet in the blue and mauve hues of my rug
    I see your strong hands, Orpheus-like
    Little by little
    Weaving colorful threads into the designs
    Reminding me incessantly of your days and nights
    At the loom
    And the child turning inside of you
    Destined to become a weaver like you



Excerpted from Iran Memories and Other Poems by Zahra Karimipour. Copyright © 2013 by Zahra Karimipour. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Part One Borujerd, the Vibrant....................     1     

Long Gone, But Living....................     3     

Borujerd's Winter Night....................     5     

Mehregan Elementary....................     7     

Childhood Fun....................     10     

Bread Sellers....................     13     

The Woman of "Lorestan"....................     16     

Yalda Night....................     19     

Part Two Iran, the Beautiful—1970s....................     23     

Oh, Caspian!....................     25     

The Old Tehran Is No More....................     27     

Nowruz....................     29     

Part Three I Am Home....................     33     

Mother....................     35     

A Little child at Play....................     37     

Empty Nest....................     38     

Handle with Care....................     40     

Who Is That Woman?....................     42     

This Tree Is You and I....................     44     

The Brave Crow....................     46     

Freedom Imagined....................     47     

Days of our lives....................     49     

New York City....................     51     

Nature, Best Teacher....................     54     

Can an Immigrant Be Whole?....................     56     

Alma Mater....................     58     

Silver Skin, Silver Hair....................     60     

From Myrtle to Marigold....................     62     

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