Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Choman Hardi: Homeland, what shall I do with you?

Translated from the Kurdish by the poet

By the murky pond
in which the two sisters drift
look at your policemen.
Look at the ropes in their hands
and tell me if these men hunt fish or mermaids.
Are they saviours or offenders?
Look at the crowd, coming to watch.
Look at their keen eyes and cameras.
Look how much they yearn for blood,
blood and images of blood,
abuse and images of abuse,
self-immolation and its images,
rape and its images.
Might this be the dictator’s fault –
caused by his blood-filled cells,
his gassing our souls, his slaughter of freedom?
Might this be the heritage of violence,
which has turned us into a people
who know no mercy, feel no guilt,
and are never shocked?
Might it be the revolution’s fault?
Caused by glorifying murder,
the rituals of aggression?
Might it caused be by brilliant lies
and endless promises?
By liberation’s rape and the fall
from grace of its revolutionaries?
I don’t know, homeland!
The excuses are numerous
and women are numerous.
Force and violence are brothers
and women are alone.
Homeland! You are still
drenched in blood in my dreams.
Tell me how can I fix you?
Which crime shall I tackle?
Which wound shall I bandage?
You tell me, where shall I start?
What shall I do to make you change?
I can’t turn my back on you
to carry on as you are.
With what will you change?
The pleading mothers,
angry streets, and endless analysis
did not change you.
What shall I do with you, homeland?
What shall I do with all this blood?
Where shall I put you
to prevent you from filling my days
with damage and grief?
Where I shall I put you, brutalised homeland?
You tell me: where shall I put you?

Copyright 2015 Choman Hardi. First published in Modern Poetry in Translation. Included in Vox Populi for educational use only.

Choman Hardi was born in Iraqi Kurdistan. She came to England as a refugee in 1993. She has published collections of poetry in Kurdish and English, including Considering the Women, published by Bloodaxe Books.

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