Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

THE THORNBIRD /Poem for Neda

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Every boy wants to go up on the
roof and fly. Some of them are
actually dumb enough to do it.
They tie capes around their thin
shoulders and wait for a divine
breath to lift them and take them
away. Where is it that boys who
fear women more than they fear
heights want to go? Some of them
believe that death is martyrdom.

They are just hoping for wings, but the
air is for birds and the dead who
have walked in kindness on the earth.

When there is no wind, the boys
play with their guns. They aim
at singing birds, imagining they
have the power to stop the sound
of freedom and flight. Sometimes
they shoot girls, aiming at the heart
because they are afraid of love.

At the corner of Khosavi and Salehi
Streets in Tehran the basij shooter,
a boy in a coward’s cape, aimed
at the ancient heart of Persia, its
poetry and music - at Neda, the
song of her people. What the boy
didn’t know is that you can’t kill
a song. Natarsid. Neda may lie still,
but she still sings like the bird with
a thorn in its heart; her voice the
voice of millions led by her music
teacher. Natarsid. Natarsid. Mah
hamed bah ham hastim. Courage.
Courage. We are all together.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Linda Rogers

Linda Rogers is the author of the novels Say My Name (Ekstasis Editions, 2000), Friday Water (Cormorant Books, 2003) and The Empress Letters (Cormorant Books, 2007). She has also published several collections of poetry, including Love in the Rainforest (Exile Editions, 1996), Heaven Cake (Sono Nis Press, 1997), The Saning (Sono Nis Press, 1999) and The Bursting Test (Guernica Editions, 2002).

Go to Linda Rogers’s Author Page