June 20, 2009

What is this place, what country, what region of the world?

Iran, June 20, 2009.


T.S. Eliot

Quis hic locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga?

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands
What water lapping the bow
And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog
What images return
O my daughter.

Those who sharpen the tooth of the dog, meaning
Those who glitter with the glory of the hummingbird, meaning
Those who sit in the sty of contentment, meaning
Those who suffer the ecstasy of the animals, meaning

Are become insubstantial, reduced by a wind,
A breath of pine, and the woodsong fog
By this grace dissolved in place

What is this face, less clear and clearer
The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger—
Given or lent? more distant than stars and nearer than the eye
Whispers and small laughter between leaves and hurrying feet
Under sleep, where all the waters meet.

Bowsprit cracked with ice and paint cracked with heat.
I made this, I have forgotten
And remember.
The rigging weak and the canvas rotten
Between one June and another September.
Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.
The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking.
This form, this face, this life
Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,
The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.

What seas what shores what granite islands towards my timbers
And woodthrush calling through the fog
My daughter.

YouTube: "Basij shots to death a young woman in Tehran's Saturday June 20th protests"
[Alternate site: here, at the entry logged at 2:37.]

She was standing next to her father when she was shot. The video, needless to say, is graphic.

"Please let the world know."


Anonymous said...

That's more than graphic. It's heartbreaking and horrifying in a thousand different ways. That'll be with me for a very long time.

And thank you, Luisa. I came here for the dogs, but I stick around for, well, everything.

Rinalia said...

That was heartbreaking. All of it is, of course, but crap. No words. :(

Luisa said...

Her name was Neda, according to this blog post. Word is that she was just 16 years old.

Right now I'm sure it doesn't matter much to her family that so many have been affected by her death, but maybe someday it will be a kind of comfort to her loved ones, to know she was mourned around the world by all who love life and freedom.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for them. So much courage and so much hope. I pray that their pain, their fear - and their deaths - are not in vain.

Heather Houlahan said...

I could not watch the video. I looked at the still-grabs, and then could not make myself see this beautiful young woman die in real time.

Sic semper tyrannis.