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Conquest Of The Garden - VIEW THE POEM

That crow which flew over our heads
and descended into the disturbed thought
Of a vagabond cloud
and the sound of which traversed
the breadth of the horizon
like a short spear
will carry the news of us to the city.

"Conquest of the Garden," first published in Kayhan-e Hafteh in the summer of 1962, boldly proclaims the speaker's resolve to live as she sees fit, at least in the realm of love.

"Conquest of the Garden" is Farrokhzad's rejection of societal conventions and her expression of determination to follow the dictates of her heart. The speaker knows that a relationship of true love has little to do with signing a marriage certificate, but a lot to do with ignoring what 'everyone' will think. It means overcoming the fears that most people have when given the opportunity to be totally open.

The crow is a proverbial gossip-monger. The news which it will bring to the city has the potential wounding quality of the short spear to which it is compared.  The crow seems here to represent people determined to maintain and enforce conventional morality. On the other hand, the young eagles are creatures above conventional morality and pedestrian concerns.  It is therefore fitting that the speaker and her beloved ask them how they should live.  The eagles live on "that strange overwhelming mountain," an allusion to the mythological Mt. Qaf where Iranian phoenix birds raised the father of the legendary Rostam.

Nature is, in fact a second focus of imagery in "Conquest of the Garden."  The lovers are in perfect harmony with nature and therefore guiltless. They have seen the garden of Eden and have plucked its fruit.  They have married, but not in a literal, formal way.  Rather they have joined intimately with traditional Iranian symbols present at marriage ceremonies; lamp water and mirror, which respectively symbolize illumination, purity, and good fortune. Their decision about how to proceed in life is based on answers from knowing, yet innocent forces in nature; rabbits on land, pearl-bearing oysters in the sea, and the young eagles in the sky.  In short, as one Iranian critic observes, "Conquest of the Garden" is a rich "celebration of love" which "reveals, without sacrificing its joyful spontaneity, a sophisticated selectivity and a structural precision rare in modern Persian poetry."

A Lonely Woman Michael Hillmann page 98
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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