Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2022 finalist Nyala Starr. Nyala wrote an intro for us to bring context to her set of two poems:

Táhirih is a19th century poet in Iran who, moved by the spirit and teachings of a then newly-born faith, removed her veil in the company of men to signal time for change and the emancipation of women. She was put to death for her actions. More can be read about Tahirih here or in Amazing Stories from the Dawn-Breakers by Jacqueline Mehrabi.

I wrote this poem when I first learned of the story of Táhirih. I wrote it from the perspective of the mayor’s wife who had come to know Táhirih well. Táhirih believed so strongly in the equality of women and men and her new faith that when she was told she would be put to death for her beliefs, she dressed in her bridal gown, anointed herself with perfume, and spent her remaining hours on this earth in prayer.

Táhirih is Killed

Táhirih smiles.
Dressed in silk,
and smelling of roses.
She dies while I weep.
Everyone is happy but
No one is smiling.



is something I cannot describe in words
but I will try.
It is a cloud that hovers over your life
blocking your view of happiness
and splitting you in two
breaking you down
till you are nothingness.
It is so powerful
it brings tears to your eyes,
making you cry,
until you try to hold it in,
a tight ball in your grasp
But, then,
A feeling overtakes you,
A sort of knowing
That things could
And will
Never be
The same.
And then you give up,
stop trying to hold it in,
You let go,

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