By: Hamid Shahangian

The late Hamid Sabzevari was the voice of a nation dormant under suppression. A voice that emanated from trust in religion and freedom with exemplary courage. Hamid was the voice of those who endured more than 50 years of the oppression of kings,  and his talent fell upon a nation calling for freedom and awakening. In those days filled with silence and darkness, the illuminating light of his awakened, monotheist and free mind illuminated the way. Iranians, Muslim or non-Muslim, all heard his voice saying:

Let’s rise for freedom/Let’s fight for freedom”.

In those bloody and perilous days and nights the revolution’s poet built a bridge out of his poems for people to tread the road of happiness and freedom.

Ostad [Master] Hamid Sabzevari, as one of my friends said, is the originator of revolution through poetry. He was a unique poet, who had no rival in the realm of revolutionary poetry and song. In all the years of peril, blood and suffocation it was he who observed the movements of revolutionaries and the actions of the regime. He clung on to the hope of freedom and longed for the rule of the pious. He constantly thought of freedom for his country and wanted to fight colonization and despotism, oppression and injustice. Poetry was his weapon of choice, which he so elegantly wielded like a double-edged sword:

“Because the razor of words also has two edges”.

And wield it he did until the last days of his physical time. Surely as long as there is agony and anguish, oppressor and oppressed, the echoes of his voice will be heard by the ears of time.

A short review of his book” The Song of Agony” shows that even at the times he was alone with his creator, praising God with a hundred languages, still what he longed for was the destruction of the devil’s palace of deception and fraud.


Oh God please give me a chest burning of grief/burn my heart and be the treatment for my pain

Ruin the devil’s palace/ the palace of gold hoarding, trickery and animosity


This book can be considered a mirror for his thoughts in seven decades. When he talked about the Coup d’Etat of 1953 he wished for his death:


Tonight O’ Death come into my house/Your patient needs treatment

Be the butler of my celebration/Serve me the cup of demise


And when the English were given the monopoly on the production Iranian oil, he complained about the dust of death over society and said:


Not even one bright star is seen in the firmament/out of all the elites none can be seen

Is it Satan ruling over our land? /Why is it that I see none but Devils


If there was a minor sign of political movement to stand against an injustice concerning the rights of Iranians or of an individual he would wield his weapon shouting for justice. After the uprising of June 5, 1963, he said:


With sorrow in my heart, with thousands of regrets staring me in the face… I am the traveler of future roads and I know I can make it freely to the city of desires.


He did not limit himself to issues within the Iranian borders, as he felt some measure of responsibility for all Muslims. It did not matter to him in which part of the world Muslims were under oppression, as he considered it his duty to raise his voice and talk about them. About Palestine he says:

Mountain skirts are filled with guns in place of tulips/ On pastures firearms sit in place of flowers


He speaks with the same passion for Afghanistan, Eritrea, Africa and other countries.  During all the years of struggle before the revolution and after the revolution, whenever there was an incident involving scholars or revolutionary personalities, he would step forward and immortalized the event in history through his art. He was the pioneer among all his peers. Thus, he immortalized Dr. Shariati, the ideologue of the revolution, after his demise, and did the same for the great hero Dr. Chamran, and also for Ayatollah Taleqani, Ayatollah Beheshti, Prime Minister Rajaei and Ayatollah Motahhari, among tens of other martyrs.

Ostad Sabzevari was also a brave figure among his peers. Should we refer to his books before the revolution we can vividly see his brave soul at work. At a time when the Pahlavi regime suffocated all the venues of freedom, it was only Hamid Sabzevari whoraised his voice and directly aimed at the Shah:


My garden was damaged by the gardener/ This was not the work of the storm

Come see the circle of one night’s damage/ this herd is suffering from the pastor’s harm


Or when the Shah was named “the Shadow of Allah”, he wrote:


Do me a favor and remove this “shadow of God” from over my head/I am dying because of this shadow


His exemplary scrutiny and his foresight was also fascinating. In the years before the revolution and after the Shah’s 19-paragraph reform plan he said:


Ruler! How many rules you have/ a nation is suffering from your harm

I see you o’ selfish one/ The end of your tyranny is at hand

Furious people are in uproar/Perilous as a storm


Then after the coup in Afghanistan he said:


Do you hear the rise of the Afghan/ Soon you’ll hear the rise of Iran


Then he names the cities from which the uproar of revolution will be heard a few years later, by order, and his voice rang true:


First you will hear the trumpet from Qom/then you will see the banner of revolution from Isfahan

When Tabriz roars from the pain/it will echo in Khorasan …


He also brought up the return of Imam Khomeini to Iran:


Rise, rise, O’ martyrs

Now the leader is here with you/ He is here to kiss your graves


Hence we can say that if we study the poetry of Ostad Sabzevari, it would be the same as reading the history of the revolution page by page from 35 years before the revolution until 30 years after it. His biography is one filled with shining pages, and demands a learned heart and ample time to learn every line of his educative life.

I wish for a day in which the world would give birth to another him anew.


America, America damned be your tricks

The blood of our children from your fingers drips

The world is ablaze from the flames of your tyranny

The safety of world is in danger

Over each harvest at the heart of every garden

The fire of your rampage leaves sadness

Your ample wealth is the blood of nations

You are a world eating thief

Your wrath splits our chest like a knife

You are a world eating thief, devious you are

You are a deadly scorpion, you are a tricky fox

You are a disastrous poison, you have no benevolence

You are the unique tyrant of all times

You are the agent of every conspiracy with no compassion

America, America damned be your tricks

The blood of our children from your fingers drips

The whole world is ablaze from the fire of your wars

The ear of world is tired of your out of tune drums

You are the symbol of Satan, the enemy of every human

Your culture is manifested in naught but vice

Devastation is your tradition, destruction is your job

Dark is the world from your deception

The enemy of every nation, the cause of humiliation

The shadow of every horror intrigue in every nation

You are a disastrous poison, you have no benevolence

You are the unique tyrant of all times

You are the agent of every conspiracy with no compassion

America, America damned be your tricks

The blood of our children from your finger drips


  • Armed With a Megaphone