Mahnaz Badihian


Mahnaz Badihian is an American-Iranian poet. She is most noted for her use of poetry to bridge the gap between western and eastern cultures. She worked as a dentist for many years in Iowa City and often attended the Iowa Writers Workshop. She currently runs a trilingual (Persian, English, Italian) online magazine, Mahmag, as an outlet for new Iranian poets and for contemporary American poets.


Small sad planet

*Today* I can write my happiest poem

And I can enjoy birds, happy chirps
Seed by seed.
Even in this world which is a Small sad planet

*Today *every strand of my hair
Is wrapped in a poem. And the light
flashing in my eyes,
Brightens my hands,
Even in the darkness of these rushful days.

*Today,* I read Neruda, and
sprouted in Isla Negra.
And I bloomed, walking over
the dry leaves across the Mississippi river.

*Today *I tasted Spanish wine
in Lorca's poems, and I prayed
to the poems of the people in this world, and the
world's music fixed a ruin in my heart
even in this world filled with the sounds of gunfire

*Today *I can recite
my happiest poem filled with trust
washed with peace and
covered in love.
But I am asking: what am I in love with
In this world filled with hate, anger and War?

*Today *I am pulling curtains down
in my heart's chambers to stop
pretenders of love from entering.

*Today* I am fresh
And the cells in my body multiply one by one,
I am alive still and
Till the sun can rise
Poppies bloom in a season of womanhood
Even in the field with these many sad tulips crying

My moonlight-ridden face was polished
With the sands of Zayandeh rud and the algae
Of Margarit river and the tides from
Thames river and I wrote my happiest poem,
Even where we are all alone in
This small sad planet of ours…

I am still in love
from the presence of the moon and the sun
And with the gaze of roses
Even in this bitterness of human conflict


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