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Poetry: Forgotten Ctesiphone
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Forgotten Ctesiphone

  Forgotten Ctesiphone
Amir Arsalan

Ctesiphone, awaken from your sleepy disdain
I've come from far, to talk with you again
Arise, and stretch your limbs of old
I've come to reminisce, and recall the city of gold

As the sister city of Seleucia, you were born
Across the Tigris river, a place you did adorn
Inevitably, the Greeks were driven out
And the Parthians made you great, without a doubt

A great capital, grew from this humble city
Like a lion, growing from a young kitty
A lion, that lasted for 800 years
Through times of laughter, and times of tears

The Sassanians inherited that special place
And cared for you, with their warm and gentle grace
Though great, your beauty was improved
Until not one more stone, needed to be moved

Taq-e-Kasra, that magnificent arch
Under which, our armies did once march
A testament, to Persian engineering
Still standing now, gently peering

Tell me, how can beauty be surpassed?
Only with wisdom, and the knowledge of centuries amassed
So it was ordered, and so it was done
That your library was built, second to none

The center of all power, and all wisdom
Unmatched by any other city, province, or kingdom
The glimmer of light, through a sea of darkness
Delivering the mind from folly, decay, and starkness

There were other cities, from Constantinople to Antioch
But they paled in comparison, and not of noble stock
In beauty, elegance, grandeur, or sheer size
None could ever match, Ctesiphone's amazing rise

The largest city, on the then known earth
Surpassing all in population, length, and girth
Nothing less would do, for that proud Aryan race
You humbled all foreigners, whom dared stare at your face

Arsaces, Shapur, Khosro, all proudly called you home
They diligently polished you, until you shined like chrome
The seat of the Emperor, of all of Iran and not Iran
Uniting Khavaran to Pars, to Punjab, to Soghdiana, to Azarbaijan

Ctesiphone, those were the joyful times of pride
But they ended and slipped away, as with the turning tide
Forgive me now, as I refresh your memories of grief
It hurts to recall those days, so I'll promise to be brief

How was it, that you met your untimely demise?
Who was it, that filled your streets with cries?
What was it, that entered your gates, under pretense?
Why was it, that you were left, with minimal defense?

How?....Holy War, brought by Allah's cursed name
Who?....As always, the Taazi is to blame
What?....Islam, the bully that forces all to bow
Why?....A sad story, one I'll share with you right now

Why were you left with minimal defense, you ask?
Why did the Persians not fulfill their task?
Why did the Taazi enter your gates unchecked?
Why were you looted, torched, and wrecked?

Where was the mighty Persian army, did you wonder?
Where was your hero, Rostam Farokhzad, did you ponder?
Where the brave Soghdian infantry, Parsi Immortals, and foot archers?
Where the noble war elephants, cataphracts, and Parthian horse archers?

Blame them not, if you felt so forsaken
I bear news for you; their lives had since been taken
Not long, before your own mortal blow
Your guardians and your heroes, were all laid low

It happened, on a cold day in February
At a place called Qaddissiya, both cursed and sanguinary
That your protectors, bravely met their end
They fought and died for you, old friend

Horses, shields, and armor can't resist
The zeal of a zealot, who simply won't desist
The promise of a new Taazi God, proved too much
To be stopped by arrows, lances, maces, or such

So forgive them, if they did not succeed
They tried as best they could, to stop that spreading weed
Their efforts, fight, and honor were all just
Thus cherish their names and memory we must

Now you know, why your elites never showed
Now you know, that in a prior battle they were mowed
A battle that sealed your fate as well
Ctesiphone, you were doomed when Rostam fell

I shared with you my sad account
Now share with me yours, in great amount
Your memories are too painful; I know
But pain is sometimes useful, as it can help us grow
...

"I've had no visitor in years, none that really cared
I've felt forgotten, neglected, and so despaired
It's pleasant to rise and chat, though such times are short
If I had it, I'd pour you some wine or port

Your recital, of my olden days was sweet
I must say, it carried the taste of a familiar treat
I'd rather just discuss, those early pleasant times
Speak of my Persian pomegranates, grapes, and limes

But I'll tell you, what you came to hear
Though melancholy will overtake me, I won't fear
Those memories, I fought hard to suppress
They surface from time to time, nonetheless

Even now, I can't begin to describe
The terror I felt, to see the Taazi tribe
Camped outside my gates, torch in hand
Abusing and defiling, our once proud Persian land

Eventually, my walls and gates were breached
The echo of the Taazi voices, scratched and screeched
Suddenly, an influx of the barbarian horde
All vile and deprived, not a single one a lord

With a frothing mouth, and savage fiery eyes
The Taazi came to collect, his promised hefty prize
Plunder, slavery, and murder is all a Taazi believes
Allah is just an excuse, a tool for pirates and thieves

At that point, I knew there was no hope
The disaster overwhelmed, my initial will to cope
A blue haze, profoundly filled my mood
I lost my faith, in all I held as good

I watched, as my structures were quickly razed
The Taazi appeared mad, and clearly crazed
My library was attacked, with particular hatred
The Taazi despises books; only his Quran is sacred

A bonfire was made, for my precious scrolls and books
All were thrown to burn, by those vicious Taazi crooks
How far was humanity set aback?
How much knowledge do we now lack?

If a book agrees with Quran, it is redundant and not learned
If it does not, it is blasphemous and burned
Behold the malfunction, of the simple Taazi mind
Following his ignorant God, like the blind leading the blind

Next came the robbery, thievery, and plunder
Each dwelling was depleted, with the rapid speed of thunder
Coins, artworks, jewels, and Persian rugs
All were taken, by those hoodlum Taazi thugs

The loot was grand, superb in beauty and in size
Such magnificent objects, were foreign to Taazi eyes
As always, to Allah they offered praise
For succeeding, in their crooked and thieving ways

Structures, books, and riches are all objects; potentially replaced
No matter how demolished, vandalized, or defaced
What's irreplaceable, is each and every human life
Plenty were taken that day, courtesy of Taazi knife

Forgive me now, as I compose myself and pause
Human suffering and death, is my lonely grief's main cause
I wept then, and I weep still today
Though I try, I can't keep my tears at bay

My citizens were beaten, cut, and hacked
Humanity, restraint, and mercy, the wicked Taazi lacked
With each blow, rose higher the unsightly flood
Until the Taazi was covered, knee deep in Persian blood

Yes, the Taazi takes great pride in bloodletting
This is a fact, that Persians are now forgetting
That curved Taazi sword, took many a Persian life
Orphaned many a Persian child, widowed many a Persian wife

Once the killing stopped, the rest were bound and gagged
Shackled, chained, locked, pulled, and dragged
Thousands lost their freedom, becoming Taazi slaves
Uprooted from their homes, taken to Taazi caves

As for me, my fate became apparent
Taazi's hate for Ctesiphone, was always quite transparent
The envy he felt for Persia's pride, ultimately proved too great
I heard Persepolis, under Alexander, suffered a similar fate

What's worse, in misery I was not alone
Other cities and towns, also destroyed by that Taazi crone
Istakhr, too, met the Taazi's sword and bled
Its former days of glory, replaced with piles of dead

After the dust settled, and the ashes slowly cooled
After the Taazi spread his lies, and the people scammed and fooled
A new city arose, built from my broken bricks and ash
Taazi's Baghdad, financed by my stolen cash

Even my old rival, after 800 years, finally fell
Constantinople, the city of the Greeks, also tasted Taazi hell
Though we always bickered, and sworn enemies we were
On that dark day in 1453, I felt sympathy, and shed a tear for her

Traveler, you asked to hear my awful tale
I see you've lost your color, became clammy, and somewhat pale
Perhaps silence was more prudent, saving you this painful scar
But I couldn't deny the truth, to a traveler who's come this far

So take this cloth, which I've held for long at hand
And used to wipe away my tears, blood, and sand
Seems you need it now, much more than I
Use it awhile, then pass it on, to the next Persian who needs to cry

I feel rejuvenated, by a young Persian such as you
I wish that there were more, who took an interest too
Thank you, for this homage that you give
So long as a child of Iran remembers me, I'll always live"

...

Ctesiphone, I'm at a loss of what to say to you
Correct you are; after my journey, your silence would not do
Painful as it was, it was the truth I wished to hear
The truth hurts, but also sets us free, my dear

Your sorrowed fate, I now commit to mind
Not a single word, shall I ever leave behind
With others, I'll soon convene and share
I know many Persians, whom for Iran still care

I'll say: "Persians, the next time you travel to Iraq
Ignore Najaf and Karbala; to them just show your back
Keep walking, until you see our Ctesiphone
The city of the Persians, that once shined like the sun"

I'll say such words, and spread your cherished thought
I'll teach the truth I've learned; the truth I've always sought
You'll live again, in each Persian's mind and heart
Who knows, perhaps one day, another Ctesiphone we'll start

In memory of a once proud city
Of a once proud nation,
And the Persians who lost their lives
Defending Iran against the first Taazi invasion

For more information read:

Ctesiphone in Smoke, Fire and Blood - Review


Arteshbod (General) Rostam Farokhzad, commander in chief of the mighty Sassanid Imperial Army, a martyr and a lover of Iran.


This is what Arabo-Muslim done to Ctesiphone.
Persians, Never forget Ctesiphone, never …


Ctesiphone, aftermath …

 
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