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National Poetry Month: Only Iron Men Rust in the Rain May 4, 2012

Today’s poem in celebration of the end of this year’s National Poetry Month in April is a beautiful short poem called “Rain” by the Iranian poet Ali Abdolrezaei — a fitting selection given last night’s warm thunder/hail/lightning storm in Chicago.

Born in Northern Iran, Abdolrezaei is a leading figure in the new generation of Persian poets and is acclaimed for his work. The following quote excellently sums up not only his skill as a poet but the ways it has been impacted by Iran’s politics and society, and vice versa:

“Ali Abdolrezaei’s poetry shows that the contemporary art of Iran has been hugely influenced by the traumatic historic events of the last three decades and that these events have affected millions of Iranians in one way or another. Abdolrezaei is young and represents the aesthetics and voice of a new, multi-faceted generation of Iranians and their cultural chasm with the past in the face of a repressive political regime. Abdolrezaei gained reputation as a poet, speaking in the voice of his time, in the early 1990s and received wide critical attention. His poetry tackles difficult themes with a mastery of craft.”

Currently living in London, Abdolrezaei left Iran after speaking out against heavy governmental censorship of some of his own work, and those emotions are explored in a poem of his called “Censorship.” The below poem has less of an explicitly political message, but it still speaks to some of the same themes and societal observations.


In the sky of a town that turned so decrepit
When I put up my umbrella 
I arrive at those village days
To a girl 	bending under the rain
Planting rice
Who abruptly became a woman
A woman in the rain 	still standing tall
Who said time and again 	 to a man
Whose name she did not know
“Why run away? 
 	Why the umbrella?
Only iron men rust in the rain.”

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