– Roger Sedarat –

In prison I burned the whole Shahnameh
To keep my feet from freezing one more day.

This king or that king, recorded by name,
No matter how great, warmed me just the same.

We roasted a few stale pistachios
Over stories of our Persian heroes.

To kill time we each made shadow puppets
Of current leaders in the government.

On the dark walls our long black fingernails
Looked like the mullahs who now rule these jails.

(More than a remake of Rostam’s dragon
This Persian film would win awards at Cannes).

Don’t ask what’s outside this Platonic cave;
This audience is destined for the grave. 

Cough cough...the incessant hack as we choke
Upon our culture going up in smoke.

But first some light upon the blood we see
That once belonged to Zahra Kazemi. 

Though pictures aren’t worth fifty thousand
Lines of a classic, it shows what happened.

She came to photograph the moral wrong
That Ferdowsi fought with inspired song. 

May future prisoners dip their hands in ash
To rewrite his great poem of the past.