Love in the Age of Terrorism (a Pashto poem)

Love in the Age of Terrorism (a Pashto poem)

Poet: Sadiq Kaki

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

O my innocent love

Oblivious of what the homeland is going through

The calm village is not the same

With riots on

And men, as handsome as you, dying in bomb blasts

I have not forgotten your dear friends

Whom you saw living, have walked away dead

Don’t be restless my love and tame your longing

The motherland is here to stay and I will wait for you

My smile

And my longing to be with you… will wait for you

I don’t blame you… for this is our own motherland

But my love…

It lately feels like a stranger’s land

People leave home in the mornings

Not to return in the evenings

Tears so abundant

And laughter so rare

I don’t understand this game of death and fire

This chaos in every corner of the Pashtun land

Those old days are no more…

When friends of the village would party in the evenings

No more joy in those parties

And no such parties anymore in our village

No more is it possible

To go for a careless walk in the woods

For a journey to Swat, Kalam or to Peshawar

No more smiles on faces

No more calm in the air

And we are left frightened…

Scared of taking each step in new journeys

Visiting the market with the fear

That cars would blow up

Listen to me my love…

Focus on your hard work in foreign lands

Pass your time, count your nights and work hard

Neither guest room

Nor mosque or market place is safe

Grief-stricken masses

Lost livelihoods

Swat and Deer in turmoil

Chaos in Kabul

Mayhem in Waziristan, and in my beautiful Bannu

Announcements of deaths in every village

Such is the impact of this monstrous storm

The happy occasion of Eid

Only ignites the old wounds

For what celebration with wounded hearts

The culture of visiting guest rooms and of parties has ended

The new tradition is to visit graveyards on Eid

The town squares are empty

So is the playground of the village

The elders live long

While the youth rest under the dust of earth

Mothers wake up to prepare the dress of their sons

But decorate their pictures with funeral flowers at late nights

In the old days…

Girls would color their hands with Henna

But now…

Those hands are used to beat chests in grief

O my love…

Your dear friends have deserted the parties

Just like colors have deserted my poems

I summarized for you

The happenings in our homeland

For you are unaware of what is happening here

My innocent love…

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About farazjamilkakar

Faraz Jamil Kakar is from Pishin, a small town in Pakistan near the Afghan border. He translates Pashto poetry into English in his free time and has translated some work of famous Pashto poets such as Ghani Khan, Bahauddin Majroh and Bari Jahani. He believes that the literary work of such great scholars is the best intellectual resource that can challenge and counter the ideological roots of the menace of religious extremism, racism, tribalism, casteism, nationalism, patriotism and religionism in this region. His interest in poetic work of great poets like Ghani Khan and Bahauddin Majrooh lies in the fact that their work symbolise and carry forward the centuries old tradition of mystic poetry in the Pashtun society. Faraz Jamil Kakar is reachable at: https://www.facebook.com/farazjk?viewas=100000686899395&privacy_source=timeline_gear_menu

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