Sunday, June 7, 2015

“Without my Afghanistan” by Hangama Ahmadzai


It’s hard to describe what it’s like
Being without a land
I am a nomad without a destination
I am an Afghan without my Afghanistan

I long for the peaceful shelter that
My childhood memories provide
I long for the picnics in Paghman
I long for the getaways to Jalalabad
I long for the sound of the Mu’azin calling all to prayers
I long for the sight of her tulips

Her spring air so crisp
Her summer wind so warm
Her autumn breeze so welcoming
Her winter chill so refreshing

The Arch of Triumph in Paghman
My memories are wisps
Yet my mind clings onto them
As if it knows its value
And like a velvet chest, keeps its treasures
Well protected with tender care

The land of many heroes
Is suddenly without a vision
The land of many Shaheeds
Is drowning with the blood of the innocent

Where once her stars shone with bright fervour
A blanket of gloom hangs over her skies
Where once poets, storytellers, and historians
Wrote about her timeless beauty
Reporters, documentarians, and humanitarians
Write about her heartbreaking destruction

The gleam of knowledge has forsaken
Her historical byways
The darkness of ignorance has overtaken
Her deep valleys

Her fields were once rich
With the cradle of life
Her trees were once overflowing
With fruits of labour

Gathered around the sundali
I long for a taste of her ruby-red anar seeds
I long for a slice of her delicious apple
I long to buy candy from dokane Nabi jan
As my grandmother chased me down the street
I long for the winter nights under the warm sundali       
As my grandfather told stories of days gone by    

As I turn the pages of my mind’s album
More memories begin to unearth

I remember having a craving for dried yoghurt, qoroot
As kids crowded around its stall
I remember the smell of mantoo dumplings
As I walked with my mom through its bazaars

Maybe one day I will feel her
History drenched earth under my feet
Maybe one day I will see the beauty
That the poets, storytellers and historians were writing about
Maybe one day I will experience
The short lived heaven that my parents always talk about
Maybe one day I will drink from
Her sweet streams, taste her delicious nectar
And watch her unforgettable sunsets

Maybe I am dreaming…
But then again it’s hard to describe
What it’s like being without a land,
Without a destination,
Without my Afghanistan…

Hangama Ahmadzai is a Lecturer at Ryerson University.  She enjoys dabbling in photography, writing poetry and stories about her adventures in life.  

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful.... Your words have evoked so many wonderful memories and awakened my imagination. Thank you for the stroll down memory lane and honouring Afghanistan so genuinely. Please write more.

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