Tahirih

There was a time
When women were not seen,
heard or could move about
Hidden behind a veil
A curtain
Or the walls of the house
The woman was not seen, because
Her beauty would tempt men
Her safety would be in danger!
Anyway, that was what was said at the time!

Women were not heard
Outside the house
They spoke to other women
But with men in public places
They could not converse
Their duties confined them to the house

Women could not easily travel and
Move about
To be a model of chastity
In their homes they would reside
No need to travel anyway
Since they were not allowed to learn
Teach and have a public life

At such a time
Appeared a women named Tahirih
The pure one, the solace of the eye
She wanted to learn, teach,
And travel abroad
Her restless mind and soul
Could not be confined

In pursuit of knowledge
A fearless lioness
An orator
Admired by women and men alike
A scholar, a poetess, a teacher, a leader
The like of which no one had
Seen in Iran

Tradition could not silence her
Convention could not stop her
She was a free spirit
Unique in the land
Her words and deeds
Brought fear to man!

A champion of equality
An activist for change
Unhindered by tradition
Ready to forge ahead

Her affection could not be bought
Life with the King, she even denied
Her heart belonged to the King of Hearts
Her poetry a testament to that love

Her spirit too frightening
For those in power
They wondered how to
Contain her

Prison did not prove sufficient
In time
Her life would be a sacrifice
To her Cause

A brilliant star devoted
To truth and love
Taking her life they thought
Would stop her rise

But you cannot stop the sun
From shining
You cannot stop the moon
From guiding
You cannot cover up the stars

Tahirih galvanized so many hearts
Her sacrifice
Had marvelous results

She inspired women
In the East and West
A model of courage, purity
And steadfastness

Her life will be celebrated
For all time
Those who tried to silence her
Failed outright

Their vision so small
Their hearts so cold
Even the fire of Tahirih’s words
Did not warm their souls

A woman leading men
Unheard of!
But Tahirih was the woman
Who dared to try!!

Lida Berghuis
February 6th, 2011

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