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Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Kurds are Birds
by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Per the latest scientific classification, Kurds
now belong to a species of bird!
This is why,
traveling across the torn, fraying pages of history,
they are nomads recognized by their caravans.
Yes, Kurds are birds! And,
even worse, when
there’s nowhere left to nest, no refuge for their pain,
they turn to the illusion of traveling again
between the warm and arctic sectors of their homeland.
So I don’t think it strange Kurds can fly but not land.
They wander from region to region
never realizing their dreams
of settling,
of forming a colony, of nesting.
No, they never settle down long enough
to visit Rumi and inquire about his health,
or to bow down deeply in the gust-
stirred dust,
like Nali.

And because Kajal mentioned Rumi, here are my translations of Rumi:

Raise your words, not their volume.
Rain grows flowers, not thunder.
—Rumi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

by Rumi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Birdsong relieves
my deepest griefs:
now I'm just as ecstatic as they,
but with nothing to say!
Please universe,
your poetry
through me!

Keywords/Tags: Kajal Ahmad, Kurdish, translation, Kurds, birds, nomads, caravans, refuge, homeland, fly, land, flying, landing, colony, nest, nesting, Rumi, Nali
Gandy Lamb Feb 2019
Kurdish Genocide
People gunned down left and right
The trees are watching
Trees are pretty
Mark Lecuona Jul 2015
My eyes weep
The truth is so hard to bear
I wish to live only between day and night
It is the dusk that spares my tears
And so too the dawn
Like silk curtains that guard my slumber
Who would find me where time is fleeting
Not cherished
Or written about
Except as a beginning or an end
Where there is expectation or wistfulness
Never contentment
But for this I must pray
The end must be near
So to the beginning of hope
No matter how far the journey
It is only that it exists

Sometimes I want to wake up
But I cannot
I am conscious
Without form
Only feeling
Misty hazy despair
Inside a smoke glass coffin
But not a cocoon
I can see what it is that I am
Though desperation cannot hear me
And freedom cannot see me

Would it be that we were loved
Would it be that nomads had a mother
Would it be that we even knew our own name

Whatever is in my heart will wait
But for what is unknown except for life itself
We are the ones who must hope for a savior
Unnamed but true
For love is all we know
And the worth that man sees in our will to live
Mark Lecuona Jul 2015
She thought
I won’t read anymore
I only want to write about it
I won’t hear anymore
I only want to talk about it

The things she once knew
Were only in her dreams
Though a young boy spoke to her once
He said, “You are young, your beauty reigns, the equal of Kings!”
But she knew even Kings are scorned by those who are not chosen

Everything she knew and remembered was flat beneath her feet
She would not walk away but instead would always walk upon it

It stared back up at her
Like a mirror of her life
That was the way she remembered best
Like her dreams
The way the children would play
And though the boys threw rocks
She knew it was because they didn’t know how to talk to a girl
It made her smile now
Though it made her cry then

The smoke was lighter than air
And the sky could no longer speak of tomorrow
That is why she chose to look down at her feet
The war hadn’t reached inside her shoes yet
Her shoes looked lovely she thought
How long would they last?

She took them off and carefully laid them on the dirt
And she thought of them walking away
She bought them because of a certain boy
She didn’t know his name
He excited her
He read from the book like we was listening to his father
He spoke of their country as if it were his mother
But he was gone now
He spoke while she watched with others
The smoke followed his life
While the street kept his memory
Underneath her feet
Along with her childhood
And she wondered if the war would lie down beneath her feet
And show her what it did to that boy
Matt Feb 2015
The Kurds live
In parts of Syria, Iraq, and Iran
As well as Kurdistan

Kurdish groups such as the KCK and PJAK
Seek democratic autonomy for Kurds
And democracies in Turkey, Iran and Syria

Aposim is a grassroots socialist movement
That promotes gender equality
Apo is the political founder of the PKK and PJAK

The female fighters of PJAK
Don't have families
Because this will weaken their commitment
To the organization

Thomas Morton
Host of this Vice documentary
Stays in a farmhouse

He headed up to meet the fighters
The PJAK division he met with
Fights for women's rights
Around the Iranian border

They tell Thomas
Women are being killed in Iran
It is a mental persecution of women
The PJAK representative says

It is about the right to democracy
Freedom, Equality, and education
The woman explains that
The Iranians use Sharia and Islam
For their own purposes

It is not true Islam according
To the PJAK representative
In true Islam there is equality and equity

That really was priceless
Watching you line dance with them
Really funny
I think the women of PJAK
Got a kick out of it too

God bless the women of PJAK
Such beautiful smiles
Full of life
Standing up for women's rights

— The End —