Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Landays: The poetry of Aghan women


You sold me to an old man, father.
May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.

~0~

My body is fresh as henna leaf:
green outside; inside, raw meat.

~0~

I call. You’re stone.
One day you’ll look and find I’m gone.

Landays and Picture above from Poetry Foundation, June Issue 2013

Here are my own landays:

I walk each step as lightly as the wind.
My burgha covers my wounds, heavy as a mountain. 

~0~

I bathe, but this body belongs to many:
my father, my brothers & the old man with coins.

~0~

The words flow like honey from my hand.
I imagine your cheeks, like pages, pressing into mine.

~0~

Beneath this veil are the eyes of a bird,
even when it seems I have forgotten my wings.

~0~

I am more than just a stone.
Someday, I will build a tower for all my sisters.


Posted for OpenLinkNight of D'verse Poets Pub - June article of Poetry Foundation is dedicated to the Landays of Afghanistan..   I was reminded of how lucky I am to write freely, of poetry specially, without the threat to my life nor womanhood.

Poetry form:  Landay is a two line poem or a folk couplet, depicting the themes of war, separation, homeland, grief or love.  

44 comments:

  1. i love that she doesn't give up...so tough to not be able to speak and write freely, to not be able to make own decision, not even when it comes to the own body..ugh...makes me angry and sad..and yet..they're so brave and don't give up.. i think that's awesome

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  2. Lucky we are to be in a place without that. Sickening that it still goes on in the world too.

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  3. I love this poetry and thank you for opening up a world of poetry.. That's what so amazing with dVerse, there is always new things to see. And I love the soft resilience of the narrator. I don't want to be ashamed being a man, bot somewhere I wonder if men can do more, I we said we lack respect for behaviour like that, it might have effect.. but then I'm not an Afghan man

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    1. I wish that men would do more, but then again the cultural and religious divide are very different ~ Thank you Bjorn ~

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  4. its a strong form...i have seen it before...i cant imagine arranged marriages esp of the young to the elders...so much is lost there...and def to speak freely, we are blessed we have a voice...and should remember that as we use it...i am more than a stone and will build a tower for my sisters...great closing grace...

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    1. Yes, I have written landay poems before ~ We are blessed to have our voice ~ Thank you Brian ~

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  5. This is a great form for all these short cuts - like scenes from a documentary, Excellent!

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  6. Beautifully done--evocative--Reminds me, the end, of a poem by Ai about an old whore who decided to build a walkway to her front door out of concrete because she 'wanted to do something that wouldn't make a man hard."

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  7. Hello Grace,Haven't posted myself tonight but found a few mins to get here and there early tonight... And Wow! Glad I did... wasn't aware of this form at all and those at the top of the page JUST BLEW ME AWAY and I just know are going to help me. Also really like your first two - magnificent... Really hit me deep inside. Thanks so much - an inspiration. Promise to try and pay you and others back next week with something new... With Best Wishes Scott www.scotthastie.com

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  8. So sad..great write, evocative and beautifully penned.

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  9. Beautifully done Grace---I don't know the form well--but it works so well to convey strong emotion--

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  10. Each line is a falling tear.

    Especially this:

    "The words flow like honey from my hand.
    I imagine your cheeks, like pages, pressing into mine."

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  11. An important subject dealt with in an excellent style.

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  12. Your second landay is just brilliant.

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  13. Its sad and depressing, Grace...but the form is really amazing...and you did it fab...loved the opening of it ..

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  14. And in the end there is hope despite the tragedy

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  15. Amazing work Grace. The circumstances for women in Afghanistan are so heartbreaking. Thank you for this!

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  16. heartbreaking Grace... so hard to imagine life in which freedom is but a dream.

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  17. Grace, your words are heart-felt. We really have to treasure what we have and hope that others do achieve such freedom....

    " My burgha covers my wounds, heavy as a mountain. "

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  19. I read a lot of women's lit including fiction, poetry and YA. You take me back. Thank you.

    p.s. If you haven't I recommend Sold by Patricia. It is YA (YA is not our middle year books). A novel written in verse.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sold-Patricia-McCormick/dp/0786851724

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    1. Thank you ~ I will check it out, though stories like these break my heart ~

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  20. Grace, the forms lends well to the subject matter. We are indeed lucky to write in freedom. Excellent poem and post, thank you.

    Pamela

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  21. The old man with coins--striking, sad, yet the strength and hope underneath as shone in the last. Tremendous work!

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  22. So heavy, and so important to raise awareness about this. Thank you!

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  23. An amazing write with a powerful message..a strong voice within the lines. I agree we are lucky to be able to express ourselves freely.

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  24. ...Grace, your 2nd & 5th couplet are my fave for their outstanding voices... felt it, really... this is probably my newest favorite of yours since notes before leaving.. excellent! smiles...

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  25. Grace- thank you for bringing this form and explanation to us- these are wonderful -and the final couplet is a triumph. K

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  26. Thank you for another new form. These are truly wonderful and yes, we are lucky to be able to express ourselves freely

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  27. Your pieces are beautiful and haunting, and brave. THose few words say a lot, a lot lot lot. :-)

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  28. I've never seen landays before so thank you for that alone; the strength and beauty in this poem resonate and that's even more to thank you for! -Mike

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  29. A moving, heartfelt piece. There was courage and lucidity in the narrators voice which I like very much. Such sadness I can't bare to think about, but like you, I am reminded of how lucky I am to write as freely as I like, and for that I am grateful. Thank you for reminding me.

    Love,

    Lila

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  30. Sad what they have to go through

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  31. I find this form so empowering just knowing the strength and courage of the women who write them. I love what you've done here, I love them all but this one really stands out for me... The words flow like honey from my hand.
    I imagine your cheeks, like pages, pressing into mine.

    Very evocative and powerful words!

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  32. This was such an important thing to write...thank you for sharing this. Everyone need sto know that this goes on...perhaps someday we can galvanize change...

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  33. Thank you for this Grace. It's so sad but I'm glad women are writing about it. I like your landays so very much.

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  34. The power of the written word... this is why so many cultures deny women education. Men in power know that we unbind our hearts and spill blood onto parchment.

    These are small testaments that read big as mountains. The mountains they must climb in order to stay on flat ground beside their "men." This form is a wonder, and thanks so much. We Americans should perform civil disobedience and spraypaint landays on the sides of abandoned building... it would beat the taggers to shame. Amy

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  35. Grace, this is a tough subject - brought tears to my eyes reading.
    Thank you for reminding us of what we have... and for your courage to address this.

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  36. Oh Grace, I found these really hard to read, The examples you gave are all powerful and your first two particularly would fit directly with them. Like Björn, I don't want to be ashamed of my gender, but sometimes it seems there is no other fitting response I can make to the things men do.

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  37. the world is an unusual place filled with many troubles

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  38. Gorgeous, Grace. I especially like:

    The words flow like honey from my hand.
    I imagine your cheeks, like pages, pressing into mine.


    Saw your poem in Poetic Pinup Review. Congratulations!

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  39. This was very powerful. Loved the 2 line form.

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  40. You've done a perfect job of capturing the essence of landay, stylistically, narratively, and emotionally. Well done.

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  41. Absolutely stunning! A shiver ran down my spine.

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~