Mashhad

I finally reach the country’s second largest city, helped by a good tailwind. Dirty industrial quarters line the road for the last twenty or so kilometres, before giving way to city proper. Hospitality Club member Mehdi meets me in the suburb where he lives and takes me to the flat that he shares with his mother.

Remembering all the good people who have cared for me as I have traveled this beautiful country, here are a few words by modern Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri (from “Footsteps of Water”):

“I, don’t know
That why some say: horses are noble animals, pigeons are beautiful.
And why there is no vulture in any person’s birdcage.
What do clovers lack that red tulips have.
Eyes should be washed, in another way we should see.
Words should be washed.
A word in itself should be the wind, a word in itself should be the rain.

Umbrellas we should shut.
In the rain we should walk.
Thoughts, and recollections, should be carried in the rain.
With all the people of the town, in the rain we should walk.
A friend, in the rain we should call on.
Love, we should seek in the rain.
In the rain we should play.
In the rain we should write things, speak, plant lotuses.
Getting drenched from time to time,
swimming in the pond of ‘right now’, is what life is.”

Source: http://www.ikramkurdi.com/2008/11/sohrab-sepehri-footsteps-of-water.html

Also mentioned in this haunting report by Robert Fisk: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-irans-day-of-destiny-1706010.html