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Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti[ List of Books by Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti | گفتگویی با اسقف حسن دهقانی تفتی و همسرشان مارگارت ]
1) Classical Poets from Ferdowsi onwards.
2) Modern Poets.
Modern PoetsModern poetry is a new phenomenon in Persia. It started with Nima Yooshij in 1920. He is really the father of modern Persian poetry, and here the mould of classical poetry started to crack. Nationalistic thoughts came in - which was quite a new thing, especially before the first Persian Revolution when legends from before Islam started to come into Persian poetry, and mention of Christ also took on a new face. No longer was it mystical, but it was a way of expressing the inner problems, the country's problems, and people's social and political struggles.
Now some people may not agree with modern poetry. It took me a long time myself to accept it, but I have been converted to it. You can do far more in modern poetry - breaking the old moulds of rhyme and rhythm, giving meaning and life to it.
One of the famous modern poets is Mehdi Akhavan-Saliss (Omid). In a poem written in 1967 under the title of "Imaginary Bird" he identifies his sufferings with those of Christ in this line, from a translation by Professor Sorour Soroudi:
'As my enemy's desire, a lonely soul,
Then we go to another very popular modern poet, namely Ahmad Shamloo. Before the Islamic Revolution, on many evenings, groups used to collect in the Goethe Institute in Tehran, listening to poems being recited mainly by modern poets. Among them perhaps Shamloo was most popular. One of his poems is called "The Death of the Nazarene", orinted in a book called "Phoenix in the Rain" in 1966. Shamloo in this poem speaks about love and mercy in one's soul, facing the cruelty and injustice of man, and we can see how he describes Christ carrying his Cross. This is also translated by Professor Sorour Soroudi:
The burden's wooden tail
He has another poem called 'Moments and Always' in which he identifies himself with the cross of Christ, quite openly. The translation is by Professor Sorour Soroudi:
'Lo, there am I, having traversed all my bewildermentsVery powerfull!
Among modern poets we come across one by the name of Ahmad Alvand. In one of his poems, inspired by the Vietnam War, he brings Jesus down from heaven on Christmas Eve. The 'Son of God' observes that in a house in the black district there is no Christmas tree, no joy and no happiness. He searches for a tree for the deprived family at the banks of the Mekong River. Jesus swiftly reaches the banks of the river and is hit on the spot by a barrage of machine gun fire. Then:
'At God's threshold
The last example of modern Poets I would like to mention is Mohammad Reza Shafi-ie-Kadkani (M. Sereshk). A book of his collected poems was published in 1968 under the name of 'In the Garden Lanes of Neshapour'. In one of the poems in that book, called 'Visit', Shai-ie employs Jesus' crucification and his miracles allegorically to create a false Messiah who symbolises the oppressive attitude of the so-called Christian West towards the Islamic East as seen by him:
'Lined up as beggars