Inspirational Creative Nonfiction

Manijeh Khorshidi


Dedicated to Iranian women whose cry for equality has emerged since 1844 by Tahirah Qurrat Al-’Ayn, the Pure One (1818-1852)

Let Me live

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The cry of Let Me Live

a quiet cry from the heart with no word or sound

a cry never acknowledged, never heeded

a cry ever-faded to insignificance, to pages of oblivion

with no face appearing with the cry

the faceless lament ignored for centuries

in Iran, a fallen land from its ancient glory.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

With time, the quantum breeze

transmits the silent cry in the womb of time.

The age-old cry of Let Me Live

begins to find a form, a face.

The nascent call soars fast.

The sudden call from the clarion of the divine,

carries a sound never been heard before

the cry that has a sword

the sword of sounds, syntax, and words.

The song of salvation, liberation, and the right to be

reverberates in mountains, valleys, the earth, and heaven.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

It is the mid-nineteen century

the awe-stuck beholders see the figure of a woman

who speaks, utters, and confronts.

There it is, the Poetess!

Being called Tahirah, The Pure One, the Solace of the eye!

Standing in the middle of a plain

on the slopes of a mountain

with creeks going through and surrounded by trees.

The veilless Poetess addresses the assemblage of men with the knowledge of old and new.

The eye of time had never seen such a creature.

She says women and men are equal. Strange!

She says women and men are the two wings of the bird of humanity.

She says the wings are equal but different.

Then, she utters the final words you can suffocate me, but you can’t prevent women's liberation.

Every one believes

She is mad!

For sure she has lost her mind!

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The curses and blasphemy verbalize the violent voices of men.

She cannot be a woman if she talks, the assemblage cries!

She cannot be a woman if her face is exposed!

Purity has vanished in her.

The honor has evaded her.

Where is the man in charge of her?

Where is the cover to clothe her? to make her unseeable again?

Bewildered scholars, the furious knowers, do not know anymore.

They scream the world has come to an end.

Some escape the gathering on that day a few cut their throats to show their deploration of her.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

A prodigy as a child, a philosopher of life, and a believer in justice.

Fresh air for the choked women,

aspiration and hope for all the helpless ones.

with all her gifts, the Poetess remains

a regret to her father for not being born a son.

The fire of love for divine Beloved

has burned attachment to her lower self.

Thus, she is selfless, enlightened, and has discernment.

A celestial deluge flows from her heart.

The gem-like words reveal from her tongue.

The ink of her passion baffles the pen of knowledge.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The question remains for men in that land

how to face the New Message the Poetess believes

Equality of Genders' is the most perilous word of all

to turn to it or deny it.

To see her as a human with rights or a forgotten one with crimes

the fury boils in their hearts.

what becomes of them if they accept the new Words

they will lose their power over women,

the ones supposed ever fading on the canvas of life

the ones supposed to be hushed in the passage of time.

The call has trembled the hearts of the fearful

the ones with names and fame

the ones with possessions, the seats of honor.

The verdict arrives:

this woman cannot lower our rank

nor can she change our ordered lives!

Remove her, destroy her.

She misleads women to open their cages.

Eradicate her.

The Will of God is this, religious leaders say.

The veil of self has blinded them to Truth

the weight of ego descended them to gloom

howling curses on the Poetess

the leader's signature carries with force to put her to death.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

the tale that began on that summer day

at the verdant plain named Badasht in Iran

has remained in the tablet of time

carved in crimson letters

written on the chests of seekers of Truth.

The Truth that has vibrated the atoms and unlocked the gate of hearts.

The universe has heard the lament of centuries of sorrow

an epic tale of pain.

The handmaiden chained to the past

releases herself at last.

The Poetess sings the song of time to come

a prototype for women to wing their flight

to soar high in the fathomless sky

singing the song Let Me be Myself.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The rejoiced souls, emancipated from the past

the followers of Light, the believers in Truth

the ones who heard the Pure One

with courage give their lives

for freedom of thought, belief, and life

with hearts removed from freight

they see the Sun and abhor the bats of night.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The treader of an uncharted path

the sprinkler of love on flakes of hope

the One who has chanted the melody of emancipation of women all her life

the One who did cleft asunder the veils of blindness

the One who removed the chains of thralldom

and in the final act in that Plain on that summer day in August

removed the cover from her face to bring life to the hearts of some and terrorize others' hearts

is being captured and imprisoned by those fearful men.

The symphony of Poetess' life closes to an end.

A dark well, far and out of town at the time

becomes the abode of the lifeless body of the Brave One.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

The women, the descendants of the Pure One

in the land of Iran today

the young and aware of their reality

wanting their destiny in their own hands

those with conscious, with faith in humanity

serenading the song of ‘Women, Life, Freedom.’

Since that eventful day in 1844 in that unknown Plain

a path appeared for women to walk

a space to move forward, to find their calling

a trail colored by the crimson blood of thousands of women and men

who turned to the New Sun in the sky of beliefs

who heard the Poetess as one true believer in the New Message.

A most mystical tale of love that remains in the heart of the universe.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

To some, the cry of Let Me Live

remains still a transgression

Many are in doubt as ever.

They repeat the tainted message of the former time to women.

Where to go, you little creature?

Misery comes to you with your flight

The chain on your feet is bright and golden!

The shackle brings you protection!

An ancient cry calls from a distance

A flood of unwritten letters, those unplayed notes

has permeated the domain of consciousness

Those who heard the handmaidens

released themselves from heedlessness.

The voice of the wronged-ones

echoes the space of immensity.

The free ones in ascending utters

Nevermind shielding us

The golden cage is yours. Preserve it.

Emancipation will be ours to cherish it.

An ancient cry calls from a distance

O thou Pure One, O Tahirah

how your words transformed the hearts

the beauty of your face remains with us in life

your sacrificed life, a ransom for the redemption

of all who bravely step in the path of justice

of those who chant

Women, Life, Freedom

Let Me Be Myself

Let Me Live.

February 19, 2023 20:32

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Willy P. Tickler
03:20 Mar 02, 2023

Hit the Quan


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03:20 Mar 02, 2023

Me fr


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Laurel Hanson
12:24 Feb 28, 2023

Outstanding way to capitalize on the limits of this prompt to craft a beautiful and powerful piece.


18:37 Feb 28, 2023

Thank you so much for your kind words.🌷


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Kathy Trevelyan
14:03 Feb 27, 2023

What a beautiful and important piece. I just googled Tahira, to find out more about her; what an amazing woman, and so relevant to the incredible bravery of Iranian women today. This may be way off, but I sensed something of the rhythms of Hafez and Rumi in your writing, so read a few of their poems, which led me to Forugh Farrokhzad. Powerful. Anyway, I’m rambling. Thank you for sharing your piece, I hope more people read it.


17:33 Feb 27, 2023

Thank you so much for your kind words.🌷


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Wally Schmidt
07:56 Feb 26, 2023

This ancient cry is getting louder everyday. Your story should be living on outside of Reedsy. It is an important one for people to hear


18:30 Feb 26, 2023

Thank you so much for your thoughts.🌷


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Victoria Telford
12:40 Feb 25, 2023

ohmygod. This was amazing. super underrated, I hope everyone reads this. so beautiful. i don't know how you came up with some many beautiful sentences, but bravo. you deserve the win on this one!


18:03 Feb 25, 2023

Thank you so much, for your kind words. 🌷


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