Persian Language & Literature

Mehdi Akhavan Sales


Mehdi Akhavan Sales (M. Omid)
Mehdi Akhavan Sales (M. Omid) was born in 1928, in Mashhad, Khorasan Province, he finished secondary school there. He resided in Tehran in 1949.

In early 1950s, he became involved in anti-governmental riots, something common in Iran of those days, and was briefly imprisoned after the fall of the government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953. His first book of poems "Organ" was published in 1951.

Between 1959 and 1965, he joined the governmental work force and served as a high-school teacher and a grade-school principal. He also contributed to dubbing and/or narrating educational films, in addition to writing articles for newspapers and popular magazines.

In 1959, Sales published his "End of the Shahname," wherein he examined some of the contemporary socio-political problems of Iran in the context of the country's own ancient myths and legends as reported by Ferdowsi. And, a year later, he created a complementary view of the same in his "From This Avesta," again indirectly criticizing the government. Retaliating, the government persecuted him and his followers as anarchists. Similar activities in 1967 landed the poet in Qasr prison for a short period.

After his release, Akhavan joined the Ministry of Education as well the National Iranian Radio and Television Organization.

He died in 1990 in Tehran. His tomb is in Tous near Mashhad, near Ferdowsi's grave.

The critics consider Mehdi Akhavan Sales as one of the best contemporary Persian poets. He is one of the pioneers of Free Verse (New Style Poetry) in Persian literature, particularly of modern style epics. It was his ambition, for a long time, to introduce a fresh style in the Persian poetry.

A brief chronology of Akhavan Sales's works:

  1. "Arghanun" (The Organ), 1951
  2. "Zemestan" (Winter), 1955
  3. "Akhar-i Shahname" (The Ending of the Shahname), 1959
  4. "Az in Avesta" (From this Avesta), 1965
  5. "Shekar" (The Hunt), 1966
  6. "Pa'iz dar zendan" (Autumn in Prison), 1970
  7. "Shush-ra Didam" (I Saw Susa), 1972
  8. "Guyand Ki Ferdowsi" (It is Related that Firdowsi), 1976
  9. "Darakhti Pir va Jangal" (The Ancient Tree and the Forest), 1977
  10. "Dar Hayati Kuchek-i Pa'iz dar Zendan" (In Autumn's Small Yard in Prison), 1977
  11. "Inak Bahar-i Digar" (Now a New Spring), 1978
  12. "Bejang, Ey Pahlavan" (Fight on, O Hero), 1978
  13. "Bed'atha va Badaye'I Nima Yushij" (Nima Yushij's Innovations and Aesthetics), 1979
  14. "Duzakh amma Sard" (Hell but Freezing), 1979
  15. "Zendegi Miguyad Amma Boyad Zist" (Life Dictates, but Life Must Go On), 1979
  16. "Ata va Laqa-i Nima Yushij" (Nima Yushij's Bequest), 1983

The moment of visiting

The moment of visiting is near
Again, I am crazy and drunk
My hands are shaking and so is my heart
Again, it seems I am in another world.

Razor, don't carelessly scratch my face
Wind, don't mess up my hair

My heart! don't embarrass me
The moment of visiting is near.

Translated by:
Mahvash Shahegh



Two Windows

Like two windows across from each other
We were aware of every quibbles of another
Everyday greetings, questions and laughters
Everyday an appointment for the next day.

It was not the act of the sun,
Or the magic of the moon
Curse the voyage which has done this:

Now I am heart-broken and silent
'Cause one of the windows is closed

Translated by:
Mahvash Shahegh