About the Poet Contacts


His feet are black and muddy.

His hair-:
Strands of dusty felt,
          woven together.

His clothes…

May be a torn garment-
Hanging in shreds,
          from a tall but tired figure.

With a face covered
In dust and dirt and beard-
          and many other unwashed entities.

By the side of a rancid dustbin-
          which may be his breakfast table,

He is standing and-

Reading the Financial Times.

 Shirin Razavian
July 1997 London

CD Advert


The Society Club

At the Society Club
Where poetry burnt bright
And friendship flowed freely
We drank wine
And translated freedom into a thousand little stars
Till the night sky was ablaze.
We spoke of our pain
And compared wounds
We found the same dagger in all of our hearts
At the Society Club
Where I met the young boy from Syria
With bloodless skin
Wary eyes and sad smile
“He is all alone, four months in town from Calais”
Said someone as introduction.
From the Jungle I thought, to another battle
Survival of the fittest!
“You are here now!”
I said to paint the black mood with a stroke of colour
Wearing the brightest smile I could muster
His faint smile mirrored mine
I didn’t tell him
He reminded me of my Twenty year old self
Crying myself to sleep
With the pitter-patter of rain on my window
We exchanged a sad look
Knowing glances
Twinkling subtly with tears
That stung like a thousand tiny diamonds.

Shirin Razavian
2016 London

Held by the pleasure
            of being with you,
of your being-to-be
            in my womb,
I enter, with you,
each moment’s smell
and touch, with you,
time’s smallest cells
You are the miracle
of late love
connecting me back
to my last green.
You are
the rare chance
of a second chance.
 Shirin Razavian, translated by Robert Chandler
New Year

My new year starts
With howling wind
and whiplash of rain,
The pale metallic face of the morning
Sickened by the faint yellow of a washed out street light.
Life is back to normal, I say
Getting ready to go to work.
I never mind the mundane
Or the ordinary.
I love the word “Normal”.
All my life, I fought to fit into that window
To join the flocks of happy souls
Living normal lives
With two happy parents
In a happy house with a happy cat
Growing up without stabbings of depression
Displacement and oppression
Just living carefree as a red breasted robin on a holly branch
My life is haunted by the ghost of dreams and desires
of any normal girl
I have no regrets
Some of those dreams turned to reality
Late but not never.
Back at the office
In a grey St. James’s
My window is speckled with rain drops
I work against the white noise
Of colleagues speaking in calm voices
And the slushy sound of cars on wet asphalt.
Life is as grey and cool as the London sky,
Comforting with the aroma of coffee
And the green plant on my desk
Eternally grateful for serenity.

Shirin Razavian
2012 London

Shadow Dance

My shadow kissed your hands’ shadow
as the sun set.

Your hands’ shadow
put the shadow of a grape
in my shadow’s mouth.

The beat of my heart and your heart
broke the shadow of silence.

The shadow of our happiness
walks on long legs
over the shadow of our hopelessness.

Shirin Razavian
Tr. Robert Chandler

Running low on life

To hurt your feelings
Was the last thing I wished to do?
I am tired you see, tired and wary
Of painful memories biting
And snide comments stinging
I need to rest on the cold skin of the night
And listen to the earth’s solemn heartbeat
Or find a mother at the bosom of the sea
I have walked too far you see
Against the howling whip of the winter hale
I need to finally thaw away my frozen mould
And salute the serenity of the lizards waiting patiently,
For the kindness of the summer’s glow.
The time is now to grow
With the mighty sun-flowers,
Bearing sweet nectar in the seeds of their well rounded hearts.
I am wary you see
Of burdens getting greater
Of demons resurrecting
The healing has just begun
From the harsh season of captivity
At the hands of people who could
Never be made happy
Or satisfied
Or even remotely accepting
I’m afraid of losing my small pleasure
Of having a simple life, that was also my biggest deprivation
Of running low on patience
Of running short of life
Of hurting the ones I love.

Shirin Razavian

The Pool of Night

 I bathe in night’s transparent pool.
Opposite me, like a familiar ghost,
sits a poem, and above me
the moon’s honeyed smile
sweetens the night till
I can drink it.

sweet words,
I huddle against your side,
till sleep
sweeps over me.

Shirin Razavian
Tr. Robert Chandler

The grey morning

Runs its cold delicate hands
On my shoulders
And playfully toys with my dress
The grey morning
Is full of the murmurs of life
The sounds of today
Voices of today
And the silent pains of yesterday
Which nobody speaks of
The grey morning
Is full of the stories of exile
The silver wings of the doves of loneliness
Upon the metallic sky
And the hoary smoke of the cigarettes of uncertainty
Over the coffee cups of unresolved questions
And the dancing of the pupils of eyes
That look from one face to another
In search of an answer
Oh what cold delicate hands
Has the grey morning.

Shirin Razavian
July 2006



Exile Ink Shirin Razavian


On the road again
of uncertainty and loneliness,
with the world smaller
every moment.

No way
leads to an end
that is known.

No road
will take you back
to the fern’s green sincerity.

Eyes dusted with dust
and lips puckered
again by the taste
of loneliness;

Your tall, cold,
attenuated shadow
with its woollen scarf
dancing in the wind;

As you look for a train
that might take you
somewhere, anywhere
not here.

Shirin Razavian, tr. by Robert Chandler

Dying young

My friends
Are all dead
The souls
I used to write with
Sing with
The songs of freedom
On the mounts of Esfahan

Those familiar smiles
Knowing sparkles in their eyes

Souls who knew me,
Are now wandering at night
Hovering over the blue mosques
Brushing away the sound of Azaan
From the navy sky of a suffocated town

The sounds
Which throttled the songs of freedom
In our mind
And why would god
Play the devil’s advocate?

Was he not merciful?
Was he not kind?
Did he not whisper softly
In my ears
Sweet lullabies of Erfaan
From the silver throat of the moon?

Did he not gently
Stroke my hair
Through the kind hands of midnight breeze?

Where did I leave him behind?
Where did the devil hide my merciful?

In the grave of some rotten corpse
Of ignorance and need?
In the lethargy of decayed beliefs?
Or in the fire of lust and greed?

My friends are dead
All beautiful and young
But through the silence of the night
Lives on the whisper of their song.

Shirin Razavian
17th July 2003 London



 Nobody cared then

If we hung from the branch of sadness

And became the bitter fruit of deprivation

Nobody cared then

For the tender twists of young bloom

Struggling to break through and reach the light.

There were men in heavy boots

Stamping on the blooms

Stamping on the grass

Stamping on the soul of youth and beauty

Chanting holy verses

Chanting god’s name

Where kindness should have been the order of the day

And mercy should have painted the souls

While he was watching

Tears streaming down his ancient cheeks

Raining his sadness on the perished blossoms

In the dust and dirt and heat

In the drought of kind tears

Nobody cared then

That we had become powerless

Hovering through the alleys of an eternal night

Unnoticed like ghosts

Of some mythical heiress

Nobody seemed to care.

 Shirin Razavian

3rd April 2006

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