Let Us Believe in the Dawn of the Cold Season

I first came to the poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad as a teenager in Iran. Like many young adults I dwelt in dark thoughts romanticizing the macabre. The listless wanting and dark desires she spoke to in her poetry resonated inside my anxious, restless mind. In Forugh’s verses I found a language unknown to me before, a language of dark desires and poignant melancholy. Love and desire, loneliness and death, and the relationships between them all were exotic countries too far to touch but easy to imagine myself in. In that same year a young college student renting a room in my childhood home took her own life. I remember seeing her body laid out on the bed through the slit in the door.

Forty years later I have found myself returning to the verses of Forugh Farrokhzad, stumbling over her words in my now broken Farsi. This time, however, I am experiencing her poetry as a seasoned doctor who has come to know death intimately. Her desires and sins are no longer exotic fantasies but pieces of a shattered mirror in which I catch my own reflection.  I have become an exile and the lines of Forugh’s poems spin a silken bridge from me to Iran. 

Let Us Believe in the Dawn of the Cold Season is a visual digestion of Farrokhzad’s poetry. Each photograph is not a translation of a line or stanza but is consumption of her verses. As I read her words, they are calcifying in my bones and guiding my vision. Her poems are sculpting the landscape of my mind. A landscape haunted by beauty and loneliness and populated with birds who traverse the membrane of dreams and reality.