08/27/2012 10:12 am ET

The White House, The Graveyard, The Trench: More Poetry Of The Taliban

These poems are taken from the book Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst, $24.50), a book that attempts to increase understanding of the Taliban mentality through their poetic output.

To read more about the genre and its cultural context, click here. To read Taliban love poems, click here, while poems about discontent can be seen here.

The Trench

Give me your Turban

Give me your turban and take my veil,
Give me the sword so that the matter will be dealt with.

You stay at home; I am going to the battlefield,
I will either free my dear land, or we will make a new Karbala.

Don't just call yourselves men, how long will you like there
You sit among the girls; may calamity fall down on your

Leave these long tales and don't get so emotional,
Your cunning, truth and lies make me laugh.

The land which was set on fire is ablaze;
What would you know about widows and orphans?

That day will be my Eid and happiness,
When the enemy of my religion and land walks into the trap of
  my influence.

To he who will build my ruined land, and establish a rule of what
  is true,
Will such a person come to life? Will such a person appear?

I, Nasrat, am living in sorrow, the joyless life,
I will know the joy of life once my prayer is accepted.

-- Ms. Asefi Nasrat
September 15, 2008

The Human Cost

White House

May you burn in red flames, White House;
May you burst into flames, turn to ashes, White House!

There are black calamities in your belly, you seem so white;
May you turn to ruins, White House!

The murderers of the oppressed tribes live inside;
May you turn red with their blood, White House!

You have been the centre of cruelty and barbarism since long
May you collapse at your foundations, now, White House!

You took the faith away from those who love the West;
May you become the target of those who love Islam, White

May Allah fell you as it did Bush;
May you be plagued with Obama's grief, White House!

-- Ahmadi
January 29, 2009


To the west of this camp,
There is a beautiful graveyard.
At the top of a dusty hill,
There is the refugees' shrine.

Flags are hoisted up high,
Some are green and some are white.
Handkerchiefs are tied onto them
They are so beautiful and colorful.

There is a silence in the graveyard.
There is no talk and no noise.
There is silence everywhere.
There are no gatherings and no speeches.

From time to time, groups of people
Come to the graveyard
And stand near the graves
And pray to Allah.

Then all of them go back
To their houses and residences.
Then for months and years
They don't look at the graveyard.

But amongst these graves
One of them can be seen from afar.
A martyr's tomb it is;
Its beauty is seen from the flags.

As I look at this grave,
Hope is buried there.
Warm wishes
Are buried there.

Every day when evening comes
And when the redness appears in the sky,
There is a mourning near this grave
And the sky just watches it.

A woman with a black veil
Comes to this grave
And sits near its tomb,
And then gradually starts crying.

What words of silent prayer
She speaks to herself.
She cries as if

And then she takes a nice hadkerchief
And wraps it around the flag
And starts walking home.
She is even ready to give her life for him.

That's her whole life;
She lives in grief.
I don't know what's wrong with her,
But her youth is turning to soil.

As I see these incidents.
My heart splits into pieces.
With the situation of these poor widows,
My life becomes grief.

What cruelty is it that has brought
This grief to our nation.
Lights are snuffed on contact;
There is great grief and darkness.

-- Lutfullah
September 4, 2008



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