The Revolution

The revolution is a rose—
petals blood-dew
thorns in flesh—

in a garden vast as homeland—

dips her petals in the pool of blood
and holds them up to the universe:
Look! I am ready to pay for freedom

The script is on prison walls, birds’ wings,
behind closed eyelids of the dead—
carved on mountain peaks
where ice kisses the sun
and earth shatters with lava

The revolution is a mourning rose
that refuses to mourn—
each martyr a budding rose bush—

The revolution is a rose with narcissus eyes:
“I will disrupt heavens if they turn not to my desire
I am not the one to be abased by the firmament”

The revolution is a rose
in the face of bullets, batons,
tear gas, tanks, artillery, fighter planes—
in the face of faceless threats, torture, and death—

Come you all—
Cut your chest open
Let this bud bloom into

About the Poem

One of the chants in Iranian ongoing revolution/protests (2022): “Don’t call it a protest. This is a revolution.”
At the moment I am submitting this poem, t
he protests that started on September 16, 2022, are still going on. The Lines in quotation marks are from Hafez, a 14th-Century ghazal writer from Shiraz, Iran. Here is the original:
چرخ بر هم زنم ار غیر مرادم گردد
من نه آنم که زبونی کشم از چرخ فلک

About the Author

By Alex Usquiano

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor, and poetry curator, with more than 250 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Canada’s most diverse poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012), a brave space that bridges the gap between communities of poets from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions. Bänoo is the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, Canada, Sept 2022-May 2023.

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