When I was 16, I wrote a poem called “The Executioner’s Song” for the school magazine. It was promptly rejected and got thrown into the bin by the teacher. The poem was about the injustice felt by some condemned victims on their way to the gallows. I was inspired by the two Aussie men sent to the gallows at Pudu Jail for drug trafficking. I have already forgotten the content of the poem, as it has been thirty-four years already.
Today, my daughter Alexandra, a poem lover herself, and who was very taken up by the title of this poem, challenged me to write another poem of the same title and also, about the injustice felt by recent condemned victims.
Why condemned victims? Because, to both of us, each life is precious.
This poem was composed just now (took me an hour to do it) and it is a tribute to a brave young lady called Reyhaneh Jabbari who was hanged in Iran last month after being accused of killing her rich and powerful rapist, a crime she vehemently denied till the end.
The Executioner’s Song (2)
In the solitary wards of Evin and Shahr-e Ray
You were brutally beaten beyond recognition
Your long and polished nails could not prove to them
That you will not kill even a mosquito or a cockroach
Wealth and power – how evil and cruel is this combination!
You, a young girl of nineteen out to defend her modesty
But was instead accused of killing her ruthless predator
All because he was so arrogantly high and mighty
Where have justice flee to or has God gone to rest?
Or are you simply His lesser child, not worthy of His love?
All pleas fell on deaf ears, even those from your poor mother
What has become of this world, where is humanity, I wonder?
Cry no more, Reyhaneh Jabbari, blame it on your fate
Of being born into a place where women are not feted on
But were treated like the lowest of the low, almost invisible!
Maybe you will find peace at the hangman’s noose?
Your heart, your eyes, your kidneys and your bones
Surely, they will bring some hopes and cheers
To those who got a part of you and values it dearly
Despair not, for in them, you live on, brave lady!
(Hope this one will not get throw into the bin!)