Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Feather and Fire" (1998), Original Poem by Payman Akhlaghi

‎"Feather and Fire" (*)
A Poem by: Payman Akhlaghi (1998)

When the boots had marched away, and
the silence'd melted with the stink of
the corpses, all spread over the soup
of the mud, the urine, and the human
blood, the mother came out from the hiding.

Knowing that the father'd been shot--holding, still,
after death, onto his walking stick--she then
went on, looking for her only child.

As she turned over the half-burnt body
of the boy in the barn, she could hardly notice
the flight of the white feather,
that'd been spared in
the clinched fist of his...

Septmeber 30, 1998, Los Angeles
© 1998, 2011, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

(*) This poem was originally inspired by the news genocide taking place in Bosnia. However, I always understood it as a broader cry against war and violence toward the innocent. That was why in Fall 2002, I incorporated the poem into a dance and music collaboration with choreographer Sri Susilowati, based on this theme, as the conclusion of a seminar conducted by Prof. Keith Terry, UCLA. The poem was recited at the opening of the presentation, with some minor modifications.

(I've long admired President Clinton for having had the courage to step in and effectively end the genocide.)

(*) Charlie Rose's engaging interview with Ms. Angelina Jolie, on the subject of her latest film as writer and director, "In the Land of Blood and Honey".

(*) For Ever Mozart (1996) was Jean-Luc Godards's impressive take on the subject.

(*) Harrison's Flowers (2000), featuring Andie McDowell, dir. by Elie Chouraqui, with music of Cliff Eidelman, was one of the very few accessible films made about the subject, which raised awareness about the perils of the victims.

(*) No Man's Land (2001) was subsequently awarded an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film.

-- Payman A.

(*) Image: Basic collage, using images borrowed from the web.
© 1998, 2011, Payman Akhalghi. All rights reserved.

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