Poet, Uncaged: The Story of Mahvash Sabet

May 14 marks 7 years in prison for the 7 Baha’i leaders in Iran. In honor of these prisoners of conscience, a campaign #7Bahais7years is telling their stories. You can read profiles of the seven leaders here. And you can read the full Twitter story of Mahvash Sabet below…

Mavash photo

What is written on the walls of the heart of a prisoner of conscience? Let’s imagine…

My name is Mahvash Sabet and I’ve been in jail 7 years for being a Baha’i.

Even though I’m behind bars, I know freedom, dreams deeper than waking when the mind wanders & I am with the ones I love…

“I write if only to stir faint memories of flight…to open the cage of the heart for a moment, trapped without words.”

Poetry is my answer to cruelty and injustice: “If you utter a single word of love here, it is like water quenching furious fires.”

Look through my eyes: see the prison walls, the shrinking of space and time to nothing more than a cell of solitude…

But I have companions too, women whose courage humbles and astounds: “How can one not faint for these women, beaten so brutally?”

Night offers relief from the tortuous day: “You can’t see the sorrow after lights out. I long for the dark, total black-out.”

I have learned a new divine reliance in jail: “I am naught without you…dependent on you, whose very life relies entirely on you…”

Through faith, I have found a new wholeness, despite being torn from all I love and know: “You are the spirit and I, the body only: yet we are united and intact.”

I ask you, do not despair for Iran. I still love this land. The sky and the air of Iran have been my friends in this prison…

“In fact, it is quite enough for me/just to look forward to that immensity – of air – even if I never reach it, never get there.”

Beauty and freedom grow through the cracks of this world, just as the world reaches me through the walls of this prison…

No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, always reach toward those fissures of beauty and freedom.

 This story was inspired by the life and poems of Mahvash Sabet.



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