Abdulla Goran: A Poem for Kurdistan

Kurdistan: you are my abode, my abode
of thousands of years,
I have been nurtured by these valleys,
summits and hummocks,
My breath is full of the fragrant breeze of
your highlands,
My lips are satiated by your snow waters,
My gaze is used to the sight of your
silvery twilights
Reflecting on evening snows,
My ears are habituated to the music of
your waterfalls
Pouring down from high quarters above
snow to green landscapes
My tongue bloomed with your beautiful
With words of your mountain songs,
The words of folk tales told around
The words of your children ‘s lullabies.
When blood stirs in my veins
It does so under the power of your love, I
Your love, my mother and mother of my
fellow race
Was bequeathed to me from my
And it will be inherited by sons and
As long as a Kurd survives in these high

Abdulla Goran is a Kurdish poet. He brought about a revolution in Kurdish poetry, and is also called the father of modern Kurdish literature. At this time Kurdish poetry was loaded with hundreds of years of foreign heritage, especially Arabic. Goran cleared his poetry of this influence and gave it a form, rhythm, language and content, which was based on Kurdish reality and Kurdish culture, nature and folkloric traditions.

Abdulla was born in Slemani (Halabja) in 1904, he studied in Kirkuk. When his father and older brother died, he left school and taught as a teacher for several years in the Hawraman region. In the 1940s when the Allies established a Radio Station in Jaffa, Goran served as Kurdish staff member.

Active in the Iraqi Communist Party he was arrested and tortured many times during the period of the monarchy.  As a member of the Iraqi Committee of peace and solidarity he often travelled to the former Soviet Union. He became ill with cancer and died in Kurdistan on November 18, 1962.

The dominant themes in Goran’s poetry are his ideal of freedom and his love for Kurdistan, for women and for nature. His way of depicting nature is unique within Kurdish literature. Here and through other aspects Goran reveals a familiarity with the leading European modernist poets.

In his mature years, Goran turned to free verse as a means of expressing his political commitment to his people’s fight for freedom and the working class struggle. He exposed, in his subtle and innovative poetry, gender discrimination against women, especially honour killing.

Throughout the last years of his writing, however, one will observe how a progressively stronger political tendency in the end overshadows and weakens the aesthethic aspects of Goran’s poetry.

Goran published his poems, articles and translations in majority of the Kurdish journals and newspapers between early 1930s and until his death. During his lifetime, two collections of his poetry were published, “Paradise & Memory” and Firmêsk û Huner (Tears & Art) in 1950.



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