Bring Me the Night – A Poem By Nasrin

i see my sister

      rolling on snow

            to put the fire out.

i see the snow melt

      at her touch

            on her tongue.

she runs

      to the snow-man

            we made together.

i see her

      burying her face

            in his chest.

i see my father

      petrol can

             in his hand

looking at her


             she’d dishonoured him.

bring me the night

      tell the snow

              to stay in the sky

its lights


               my eyes.

Two Poems: Walls, Refugees


She puts her ear to the dam
as if listening for Morse code
but she’s trying to hear
the sounds of the waves
hitting the thick walls.
She murmurs to them
willing them to hit harder.
She believes that
one day the raging water
will break the hard wall
of her cell.



We were wrong
to think that the earth
covers the dead.
So many corpses
never reach the earth
they’re washed over and over
with cold salt water
till there is nothing left of them
but bones.

“Night” and “Million Moving Pieces”

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Time froze
at the call of the first name.
The names always began
being called at noon
when the air was dank
with hundreds of women
breathing each other’s breath
longing for the darkness
for no one was ever called
for execution at night.


Million Moving Pieces

Whenever I board a train
I remember Yavar
he worked in a factory in Arak
making parts for trains.
He used to point with pride and say:
‘You see that train!
I made it.’

He heard the sound of trains
in his sleep
yet when he went anywhere
he went by coach
as he never earned enough money
to take a train to go somewhere,

He left some of himself
in all these million moving pieces.

Homelessness and God


Twilight, walking down Camden high street
past the bright open shops
and the full up pubs
I see him through a forest of legs
sitting by a lamp post
his hands on his young ears
in the midst of the high noise.
His back hunched
his legs drawn up
making space for the passers-by.
Men and women are all around him
talking and laughing
as if he is not there.



When she heard she had given birth to a boy
all the pain lifted from her body
God had listened to her prayers
and was sending her a copy of himself
hopefully he would look like her husband.


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My Red Father

Nasrin Parvaz became a civil rights activist when the Islamic regime took power in 1979. She was arrested in 1982, tortured and spent eight years in prison. In 1993, she fled to England. Her prison memoir is being crowdfunded by Unbound publisher. Nasrin’s stories, poems, articles and translations appeared in Exiled Writers Ink; Modern Poetry in Translation series; Write to be Counted, Resistance Anthology 2017; Words And Women 2017; 100 poems for human rights 2009; Hafiz, Goethe and the Gingko 2015; Over Land, Over Sea, Poems for those seeking refuge 2015; A novel, Temptation, based on the true stories of some male prisoners who survived the 1988 massacre of Iranian prisoners was published in Farsi in 2008.

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