Parvin Etesami

Parvin Etesami

(1907 – 1941) Parvin was around seven or eight years old when her poetic ability was revealed. Through her father's encouragement, she versified some literary pieces which were translated from western sources by her father. In 1921-22, some of her earliest known poems were published in the Persian magazine Bahar (Spring). The first edition of her Diwan (book of poetry) compromised 156 poems and appeared in 1935. Parvin's poetry follows the classical Persian tradition its form and substance. She remained unaffected by or perhaps ignored the modernistic trends in Persian poetry.



Iranian Women

Formerly a woman in Iran was almost non-Iranian.
All she did was struggle through dark and distressing days.

Her life she spent in isolation; she died in isolation.
What was she then if not a prisoner?

None ever lived centuries in darkness like her.
None was sacrificed on the altar of hypocrisy like her.

In the courts of justice no witness defended her.
To the school of learning she was not admitted.

All her life her cries for justice remained unheeded.
This oppression occurred publicly; it was no secret.

Many men appeared disguised as her shepherd.
Within each a wolf was hiding instead.

In life's vast arena such was woman's destiny:
to be pushed and shoved into a corner.

The light of knowledge was kept from her eyes.
Her ignorance could not be laid to inferiority or sluggishness.

Could a woman weave with no spindle or thread?
Can anyone be a farmer with nothing to sow or to reap?

The field of knowledge yielded abundant fruit,
but women never had any share in this abundance.

A woman lived in a cage and died in a cage.
The name of this bird in the rose garden was never mentioned.

Imitation is the desert of women's perdition, the pitfall causing her troubles.

Clever is that woman who never treads that murky road

Beauty depends on knowledge; bracelets of emerald
or Badakhshan rubies do not indicate superiority.

All glamour of painted silks cannot match the simple beauty of a tunic.
Honor depends on merit, not on indulgence in vanities.

Shoes and clothes are made worthy by the person who wears them.
One's value does not rise and fall with high and low prices.

Simplicity, purity, and abstinence are the true gems.
Mined gems are not the only brilliant jewels.

What is the use of gold land ornaments of the woman is ignorant?
Gold and jewels will not cover up that blemish.

Only the robe of abstinence can mask one's faults.
The robe of conceit and passion is no better than nakedness.

A woman who is pure and dignified can never be humiliated.
That which is pure cannot be affected by the impurities of incontinence.

Chastity is a treasure, the woman its guard, greed the wolf.
Woe if she knows not the rules of guarding the treasure.

The Devil never attends the table of piety as guest.
He knows that that is no place of feasting.

Walk on the straight path, because on crooked lanes
you find no provision or guidance, only remorse.

Hearts and eyes do need a veil, the veil of chastity.
A worn-out chador is not the basis of faith in Islam.

Translated by Heshmat Moayyed