by Kajal Ahmad, tr. by Choman Hardi and Mimi Khalvati
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.
Kajal Ahmad is a poet from Kurdistan who writes in Kurdish. Born in Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1967, Kajal Ahmad began publishing her remarkable poetry at the age of 21. She 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. For more information about the poet, translators, and translation process, visit the Poetry Translation Centre.