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Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season - VIEW THE POEM

And this is I
a woman alone 
at the threshold of a cold season
at the beginning of understanding
the polluted existence of the earth
and the simple and sad pessimism of the sky
and the incapacity of these concrete hands.

In these opening lines, "Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season" echoes the closing lines of "Those Days," which Farrokhzad had composed some five years earlier. In a sense, the conclusion she had reached in 1960 in her realization that "those days" of childhood and adolescent wonder and innocence and automatic harmony with the world about one were gone, leaving her "a lonely woman," has become a premise for her in the later poem.
Of course, the concluding lines of "Those Days" are not unproblematic in literary critical terms insofar as loneliness is not an inevitable sense consequent upon the realization that youthful innocence and vitality have forever departed. In other words, the poem does not make the causal connection between the nostalgic review and the haunting refrain about "that girl" who "now is a lonely woman." Nevertheless, in "Those Days," the poet remains honest to her feelings, reflecting as ever in her poetry her true mood and perceptions of the moment.
On the other hand, in such poems as "Those Days" and "Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season," as at least Baraheni has noted, Farrokhzad's unswerving commitment to veracity makes it possible for her to avoid the pitfalls of the more mainstream modernist commitment to social and political engagement in verse. Her poetry of life may occasionally suffer because of its subjectivity, but at least life's vitality shows through, whereas in poetry of social commitment, sometimes only ideology is communicated, often lacking both verisimilitude and the subjective truth of personal experience.
In "Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season," Farrokhzad looks into both the past and the future:

Time passed,
time passed and the clock struck four,
struck four times.
today is the winter solstice.
I know the season's secretsÉ.

The wind is blowing through the street,
the beginning of ruination.

I am cold,
I am cold, and it would appear
That I will never be warm againÉ
I am cold and I know
that nothing will be left
of all the red dreams of one wild poppy
but a few drops of blood.

I shall give up lines
and give up counting syllables too.
and I will seek refuge from the mob
of finite measured forms
in the sensitive planes of expanse.
I am naked, naked, naked,
I am naked as silence between words of love,
and all my wounds come from love,
from lovingÉ

Will I once again
comb my hair with wind?
will I ever again plant pansies in the garden
and set geraniums in the sky
outside the window?
will I ever again dance on wine glasses?
will the doorbell call me again
toward a voice's expectation?

I said to my Mother, It's all over now.
I said, Things always happen before one thinks;
we have to send condolences
to the obituary page..

Time passed,
time passed and night fell
over the acacias's naked limbs,
night slithered on the other side
of the window panes,
and with its cold tongue
sucked in the remains of departed day.

Where am I coming from?
how loving you were when you..
carried me to love's meadows
through an oppressive darkness
until that whirling smoke, the last gasp
of fiery thirst, settled down
upon the field of sleep.

And those cardboards stars
circled about infinity.
why did they call sounds speech?
why did they welcome the glance
into the house of vision?
why did they carry caresses
to virginity's timid hair?
look how here
The soul of a person who uttered words
and whom a glance caressed
and whose shying away caresses calmed
has been nailed to the scaffold
of beams of misgivings
and how the tracks of your five-finger branches
which were like five words of truth
have remained upon her cheeks.

What is silence, what is it,
what is it, O dearest one?
what is silence but unspoken words?
I am bereft of speech,
but the sparrows' language
is the language of life, of flowing sentences
of nature's celebrations.
the sparrows speak of 
spring, leaves, spring,

The sparrows speak of 
breeze, fragrance, breeze.
the sparrows' language dies in a factory.

Who is this, this person headed
for the moment of oneness
over the highway of eternity
and who winds her ever present watch
with the mathematical logic of division and reduction?
who is this, this person 
for whom the rooster crowing
is not the day's first heartbeat
but the smell of breakfast time?
who is this, this person
who wears love's crown
and is withering in her wedding clothes?

Greetings, O alienation of loneliness,
I'm relinquishing the room to you
because the black clouds always 
are prophets of new messages of purity,
and in the martyrdom of a candle
is an incandescent secret which
the last and longest flame well knows.

Let us believe in the beginning
of the cold season.
let us believe in the ruins
of the gardens of imagination.
look, what a heavy snow is fallingÉ

Perhaps the truth was in those two young hands,
those two young hands
buried beneath the never-ending snow.
and next year, when spring
sleeps with the sky beyond the window
and her body exudes
green shoots of light,
branches will blossom, dear dearest one.

Let us believe in the beginning
of the cold season.

Both the mood and premise of "Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season," i.e., "a woman alone" at the beginning of the season, provide the fairest and saddest perspective from which to appreciate Farrokhzad's life and art, especially insofar as it was one of her last major poetic statements. In fact, according to one critic, the poem is "a review of her whole life, a look at exciting past moments and empty present ones, expiration in the depths of innocence,.. the last look of a drowning person who will be silenced by a coming wave.

A Lonely Woman Michael C. Hillmann page 126-127
Reprinted from Lonely Woman: Forugh Farrokhzad and Her Poetry, by Michael C. Hillmann. Copyright © 1987 by Michael C. Hillmann. Reprinted with permission of Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.


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