Beneath the pallid grey of smog-choked skies,
Through apathy’s dull haze, corruption’s reek,
Past cynics’ laughter, marked by baleful eyes,
A wave of living green, vast ocean’s peak,
Still surges forth to voice a nation’s cries:
Reporters, teachers, students drawn to speak
And tear the clinging webs of fear and lies;
Then their defenders jailed in turn who seek
For justice at the courts of the unjust.
Small, unarmed, fragile, clinging to one trust –
Light shall return – through shadowed nights of death
And buried weeks that gasp each painful breath.
And both our challenge and our hope lie there:
If they despair not, how can we despair?

The inspiration for the first line came from
fellow #iranelection tweeter @Bsalamati who remarked – on 16 Azar – on
the terrible smog affecting Tehran. I responded that I saw it as a
symptom of the larger “pollution” (the regime) oppressing Iran and
their sickening disregard for human rights and the environment…and
when it was gone then Iran’s people could breathe freely again!
In the 11th line, “light shall return” was inspired by Tolkien’s cry
“Aure Enteluva” – “day will come again” – from the Silmarillion. (I am
an irrepressible Tolkien fanatic.)