Saturday Evening Poetry: Nadia Anjuman Herawi

Nadia Anjuman Herawi was an Afghani poet. As a student in Herat University, she had her first book of poetry published, which proved quite popular in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. On November 4, her body was found in her home, and her husband suspected of killing her. The United Nations condemned the killing soon afterwards. It is believed that her family was ashamed of her poetry, which deals with the oppression of Afghan women. The following poem is a heart-rending look at how Afghan women feel, like birds trapped inside a cage. To some extent, it is true for women across the globe, trapped in the restrictions imposed by the male world.


No desire to open my mouth
What should I sing of...?

I, who am hated by life.

No difference to sing or not to sing.

Why should I talk of sweetness,

When I feel bitterness?

Oh, the oppressor's feast

Knocked my mouth.

I have no companion in life

Who can I be sweet for?

No difference to speak, to laugh,

To die, to be.

Me and my strained solitude.

With sorrow and sadness.

I was borne for nothingness.

My mouth should be sealed.

Oh my heart, you know it is spring

And time to celebrate.

What should I do with a trapped wing,

Which does not let me fly?

I have been silent too long,

But I never forget the melody,

Since every moment I whisper

The songs from my heart,

Reminding myself of

The day I will break this cage,

Fly from this solitude

And sing like a melancholic.

I am not a weak poplar tree

To be shaken by any wind.

I am an Afghan woman,

It only makes sense to moan

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