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   Michal  Mahgerefteh

              Poetry and Art

The Rising Song

Micro Poetry Collection

by Michal Mahgerefteh 


In 2014, my 24-year-old son was rushed to the hospital with a 104oF fever, persistent body aches, and shortness of breath. He spent five days in the hospital, undergoing an array of tests. On the fifth day, the doctors informed us not only that they didn’t know what ailed him, but also that he, my son, would pass away within the next twenty-four hours, undiagnosed and untreated. We were advised to contact our rabbi at the local synagogue and make funeral arrangements. We were devastated but refused to give up hope.

On the sixth day, a specialist from John Hopkins took over my son’s care. He was able to diagnose him with Staph/MRSA, a blood infection, as well as pneumonia/sepsis in his lungs. The battle to save his life began; it would last one and half months. Seven years later, thankfully, my son is still with us.

The condition my son suffered is so rare that it is not recorded in most medical books; it baffled and defeated twenty-two specialists.  Ultimately, he was saved through an experimental treatment for cancer and rare infections known as T-Cell Immunotherapy. It is a name worth remembering.

First Reviews

“The Rising Song is one of the best chapbooks I've read. Learning about the challenges your dear son endured brought tears to my eyes. The well-crafted poems are concise, musical, and profoundly moving."

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

2006 - 2008 Poet Laureate of Virginia

Author of River Country: A Poem-Play

"It's emotional, thoughtful, reflective, and somber. A hopeful story of agony and pain, intertwined with dread of the pain and possibility of losing a loved one. Eventually, it is a victorious and triumphant tone that emerges as death and its dread are conquered."

Bob Mwangi, Nairobi, Kenya
Member of Voices Global Group

You touch the reader with your angst, anger, alternating hope, and despair. Anyone who has sat at a sickbed can identify with this; if they have not, you give them an honest dose of what it feels. I like the fact that your poems are all brief. Your imagery and emotion are stronger in their brevity. Powerful, powerful stuff."

Terry Cox-Joseph
2020-2022 President of The Poetry Society of Virginia
Author of Between Then and Now

“Anyone who reads this book of poetry will find themselves in the hospital room with this poet and her son. It is impossible not to connect with the spirit that moves through this collection. The poet takes us with her in simple anguished language of a mother who just wants her son to live. It is a marvelously rich book of poems that you will want to go back to again, and again. Mahgerefteh has the ability to hold her reader as close as the prayers she is praying for her son. You will find yourself a part of her heart when you read this work, and you will not be disappointed.”

Nancy Powell, Z"L

Former President of The Poetry Society of Virginia

Author of How Far is Ordinary and The Blackbirds Tell Stories

“Should children pass before their parents or elders do... it seems that the natural order of the universe is unjustly broken. No one wants to be brought to such an extremity, such as the speaker in these poems. Distraught at the possibility of a son’s premature passing, she turns to language and is not turned away. Poetry, like love, comes to quicken her hope and steal her heart. In The Rising Song, Michal Magherefteh offers unabashed lyrics, and gives thanks that the Beloved is “still here.” 

Luisa A. Igloria

2020-2022 Poet Laureate of Virginia

Author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts and

The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis

"The Rising Song is more than a book of poems. It is a biblical incantation; begging, pleading, supplicating to earth and heaven on behalf of a son in peril of his life. Every emotion is here, every psalm-like song is here, every prayer is here, including the Hallel- "I imagine white doves rising high, flapping wings in song..."

Beth SKMorris

Author of In the Aftermath-9/11 Through a Volunteer's Eyes

Sample Poems

Passing Through the Cemetery

Exhausted from the long stay at the ER,

I walk away, angry at the ten specialists

and their failure to find the cause for his

sudden illness, stop by Starbucks

on Colley, buy a Carmel Frappe and two

almond snacks for the late-night drive

around town; consider the uncertainty,

the risk of premature passing, how his

young-life might turn into a memory.

I end on Princess Anne Road and park

by the partially open gate; massive black

poles with rusty Stars of David mounted

on two stone columns, safeguarding

the living from the dead, expansive rows

of marble stones, sharp foliage poking

through crevices on headstones. The cold

oppresses my bones. I crouch by mounds

of cool earth, a tide of fury rising within; 

push my hands with hesitation into the damp

earth, feel her richness tingling through my skin,

roll my head from one shoulder to the other,

rocking my body side to side weep freely,

seize eternity, Shepherd of the Forest,

please receive him, our son, with dignity. 

Him, Nectarous!

Can you hear the sound of ushering

trumpets resonating off the walls;

a host of angel choirs baring the road

to light? In His palm, your mounting ache

rests on a vast thickness of petals floating

on nectar; depleted veins stiffened lungs,

you breathe droplets of aged wine; your

disabled limbs harden as oak. O’ Dear God,

must you be so beautiful and alluring to his soul? 

Praying in Repetitions

My hands ache from the grip of endless praying,

intent broadens into mighty persuasion against

God’s will. I close my eyes; listen, the Sound of Harps

ever closer as his final chord fades, nearly devoid of life.

My insistent begging bears the creak of winter’s

stiffness, unwanted pattern impairing judgment.

I release tension into the silent pulsation in small

breaths, on my knees with a thud, repeat my begging. 


Edify Fiction

“Praying with Ms. Williams”
"Hopeful Dream"

The Jewish Journal

“Relentless Prayers Invoking God”

Voices Israel Group of Poets

“Passing Through the Cemetery” 

Contact Michal Mahgerefteh

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