Vox Populi

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Houman Harouni: The Dervish

The postures I held for long breaths
by the flow of the Ganges
I did not hold to achieve light
I held no star in sight
as I turned my body into a bow

If I prayed 
in my small American flat
where every surface 
eyed my lips with contempt
I did not pray for justice
but for this stranger’s voice    to drain from me

The art of war
the way of the monk
all the pillars of wisdom   
lie   submerged in the brittle cold of time
and the current    pulls their remnants
into the small enclosure
of one   last   impatient soul

These profane lines    I carve 
into the walls of your city
did not dare hope 
to deepen your love
but only to lessen the distance
between one name      and another

In this way
the dervish has honored     the mistakes of his life

From Unrevolutionary Times (Arrowsmith Press, 2022). © 2022 Houman Harouni. All Rights Reserved. Included in Vox Populi by permission of Arrowsmith Press and the author.
Houman Harouni was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1982, and migrated, as a refugee, to the United States in 1997. His father was, for a time, a professional revolutionary, and his mother, for a time, a sociologist of revolution. He is a theorist of cultural transformation. His work moves across philosophy, political economy, history of science, psychology, theater, and literature, culminating in his pedagogy of Active Theory, which he has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 2015. His academic and journalistic writings have appeared in a wide array of publications, including The Guardian, PBS Frontline, The White Review, and the Harvard Educational Review. He has been awarded Fellowships at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education. Unrevolutionary Times is Harouni’s first collection of poems.
Houman Harouni

5 comments on “Houman Harouni: The Dervish

  1. loranneke
    September 13, 2022

    I so agree with John Zeng!


  2. John Zheng
    September 13, 2022

    Wish poetry could shorten the distance between people.


  3. melkhed
    September 13, 2022

    Poetry – a shimmering thread from one soul to another


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