Me & You – #poetry


There is a very old tradition of poetry in Afghanistan, before the arrival of the Taliban. Written as couplets, they were called landay. After the Taliban came, women began writing and sharing in small private groups. And yet when her family members or Taliban came to know about it, women were sometimes whipped and even killed for writing poetry. Eliza Griswold, a Guggenheim Fellow traveled with photographer Seamus Murphy on assignment with the New York Times Magazine to learn about one such young poetess who was killed by her family for writing poems. There she privately met small groups of women and collected landays or poems written by them. For more details and to read these couplets: See the URL below.

https://static.poetryfoundation.org/o/media/landays.html

In one of my literature groups, we had to say something on the topic of “Me and You” in Gujarati language. I selected a few lines from their couplets and took the liberty to slightly modify them to fit the theme and shared them after translating in Gujarati language. I am posting them here along with my own poem below..

You forced me into marriage with an old man 
May Allah burn down the house where I spent my childhood

Making love to you old man
Is like fucking a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.

When sisters gather, they admire their brothers
When you brothers meet, you sell your sisters, kill them, burn them.

My body is my own;
Yet you are its master

And finally sharing the poem below that I wrote………

I, me — are not just words to inflate my ego
You — you are not just your masculinity

You and I are not always separate
Sometimes, you and I are a relationship

Then I exist, so do you
For a woman may have come from a man’s rib but once

But a man is born from her womb everyday 
If you are the question, I am the answer


Don’t make my existence the focus of your dominance

If you close me inside a veil, I will not cease to be


Don’t spend your time erasing my nail polish
For when your life is erased, how will you prove your worth in heaven?


Virgins don’t need nail polish scrubbers
But surely, gates of hell will remain open for your arrival

Afghan Women Fight for Their Identity | Voice of America - English

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  1. #1 by Nancy D Isis on September 15, 2021 - 8:49 pm

    Terrific, Darshana! My thought for the past month plus has been, ‘what motivates guys to JOIN the Taliban (other than pressure FROM the Taliban & threats to their family members)?’ — what I come up with is, the pitiful gratifications of being a man in a patriarchal society; akin to being white in the South during Jim Crow times. The only power they can ever expect to have – power over women.

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