A Kurdish Poet

Kajal Ahmad: Birds

According to the latest classification, Kurds
now belong to a species of bird
which is why, across the torn, yellowing pages
of history, they are nomads spotted by their caravans.
Yes, Kurds are birds! And even when
there’s nowhere left, no refuge for their pain,
they turn to the illusion of travelling
between the warm and the cold climes
of their homeland. So naturally,
I don’t think it strange that Kurds can fly.
They go from country to country
and still never realise their dreams of settling,
of forming a colony. They build no nests
and not even on their final landing
do they visit Mewlana to enquire of his health,
or bow down to the dust in the gentle wind, like Nali.*

Note

Refers to a famous line from Nali, 17th century poet:
I sacrifice myself to your dust – you gentle wind!
Messenger familiar with all of Sharazoor!

Born in Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1967, Kajal Ahmad has published four books: Benderî Bermoda (1999), Wutekanî Wutin (1999), Qaweyek le gel ev da, (2001) and Awênem şikand , (2004).

Kajal has gained a considerable reputation for her brave, poignant and challenging work throughout the Kurdish-speaking world. Her poems have been translated into Arabic, Turkish, Norwegian and now, for the first time, into English.

Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2011

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