Mo H Saidi


Yanaguana: Native River

Introductory Multi-Media Piece

Composition by Dan Parker

Poem by Mo H Saidi

Prologue: Overview

Yanaguana: Native River
A Tone Poem:
Music and Video by Daniel Parker,
Poem by Mo H Saidi
The video:
Down from the floating mists into a vast
cavity; the city’s treasure is the River
from a massive underground sea.
Locked beneath the limestone terrain
the aquifer gathers force and like a geyser
gushes in a torrent from the blue hole.
The Natives arrived to the green valley
some 12 millennia ago; their offspring
Payaya called the River, Yanaguana.
They hunted and fished, ate
pecans and prickly pear cacti
 earth their God, the River their link.
Franciscans guarded by armed men
explored the serene valley. So friendly
were the Natives that the Spaniards
called them Tayshas, the land Tejas.
A military expedition arrived in 1691. An outpost
the Alamo mission was built in 1718, a city
grew along the banks of the River. To house
more neophytes, more missions were built. 
For the next century, settlers came from north
and east---Americans seeking land---joined
Tejanos who broke away from the Mexican
Republic, proclaimed independent Texas.
Santa Anna’s troops surrounded the mission.
Under siege, Travis drew a line in the ground.
Cannons were fired before dawn
Mexicans breached brittle barricades.
All but one defendant were massacred
an ephemeral win
a heap of corpses aflame.
At San Jacinto, the cry
Remember the Alamo shook
the enemy’s camp
secured the new republic.
The Alamo remembers the heroes:
Esparza, Bowie, Travis
Seguin, Crockett, and Navarro.
Now the Native River hosts Fiestas
feeds the green basin, meanders through
hills covered with bluebonnets, groves
of mountain laurels and live oaks.
On the River Walk, Mariachi bands
celebrate the heritage, barges carry visitors
past boisterous cafes and theaters.
Today the Alamo is a Texas shrine
the River a city’s heart, mirror of its
heroic past that attracts throngs of people
with colorful faces. It runs through
vast farms, carries its tribute to the Gulf.

A Video Presentation by Majid Naficy, an Iranian-American Poet

Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died under torture in November 2012 in Tehran, Iran

On April 30, 2015 there was a gathering held at MIT by Pen New England for Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died under torture in November 2012 in Tehran In this gathering, Sattar Beheshti received the posthumous 2015 Vasyl Stus Freedom to Write Award, with presentations from Jabari Asim, Farnaz Fassihi, George Grabowicz, Richard Hoffman, Fanny Howe, Ala Khaki, Fred Marchant, Shahriar Mandanipour, Jane Unrue, and presentations by video from Leila Farjami, Majid Naficy, and Nobel Laureate 2003 Shirin Ebadi. You may watch my presentation at:


With the Penguins

Mo H Saidi

A Trip to Antarctica
March 2012

If angels had blubber instead of flutter; if they sang Holy Cow instead of Hosanna, Antarctica would be paradise.

from Robert Flynn: Antactica-Standing on the Bottom of the World

Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland.The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89 °C (−129 °F). There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted organisms survive, including many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Vegetation where it occurs is tundra.

Frozen Shores

Mo H Saidi


In an eerie night, the expedition sails

across rough ocean; burdened with fierce

desire, an elderly woman alone in a cabin

ignores the pangs of pain

of her joints, her fragile bones.


A patch under her earlobe glows

exudes measured sedation, fogs

her mind, yet the Drake Passage

is not as calamitous

as had been publicized.


From the misty porthole

she sees Half-Moon Island

a floe hauling a pair of seals

a long blue-white iceberg.


She sits on the glassed-in deck

watches the white shore

the zodiacs slice through the calm bay

carry eager, blue-clad voyagers

who land and ford the shallow water

climb the rocky strip of the shore.


Today some penguins are sunbathing

a queue of them wobbling down to the water

a few of them waddling up to the noisy rookery

a few of them walk between itinerant beached floes

circling around the gawking tourists

a raft of them approaches the bay

a few at a time, they dive into the chilly sea.


The old woman moves to a cold bench

wrapped in thick layers of cloth

looks up at tall mountains

at the vast glacier in the valley

under the deep cerulean skies.


Beyond the frozen shore

she sees nothing but jagged cliffs

bounded by endless white ice

in the frozen end of the earth.

The distant sun warms her wrinkled face.


24 February 2012