A Cup of Sin is a composition written for chamber ensemble and soprano based on the poetry of Nobel Prize-nominated Iranian poet Simin Behbahani. It is commissioned by Tim Brady for Instruments of Happiness – The IRAN Project and will be world premiered in Spring 2018. The creation of this composition was made possible by a generous grant form the Ontario Arts Council Project Grant.
I want a Cup of Sin
By Simin Behbahani
He said I want that which cannot be found.
I want a cup of sin, a cup of corruption,
and some clay mixed with darkness,
from which I shall mold an image shaped like man,
wooden-armed and straw-haired.
His mouth is big.
He has lost all his teeth.
His looks reflect his ugliness within.
Lust has made him violate all prohibitions
and to grow on his brow an “organ of shame.”
His eyes are like two scarlet beams,
one focused on a sack of gold,
the other on the pleasures found in bed.
He changes masks like a chameleon,
has a two-timing heart like an eel.
He grows tall like a giant branch,
as if his body has acquired vegetable properties.
Then, he will come to me,
intent on my oppression.
I will protest and scream against his horror.
And that ogre called man
will tame me with his insults.
As I gaze into his eyes
innocently and full of shame,
I will scold myself: you see,
how you spent a lifetime wishing for “Adam.”
Here you have what you asked for.
A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems (1999)
by Simin Behbahani, Farzaneh Milani (Editor), Kaveh Safa