A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
The rain that pearled the snow has frozen.
Who I was in summer buried there, and full of fire.
My God I’m feeling years this cold day.
Endless snow and a butte like an old wolf’s worn fang.
Big white dog lays his head in my lap.
He knows the part of me worth saving, sees my bruised soul.
Now I have given away all my rage.
Watch the young stride ahead of me into their own mistakes.
So you are shy taking off your clothes.
I love your imperfections like my plentiful own.
Ed. note: A landay is a folk couplet sung by Pashtun women to the beat of a drum. Traditionally, each landay has twenty-two syllables: nine in the first line, thirteen in the second. In Pashto, they lilt internally from word to word in a kind of two-line lullaby that belies the sharpness of their content, which is distinctive not only for its beauty, bawdiness, and wit, but also for the piercing ability to articulate a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love.
For an extended essay about the landay form, including excellent examples in English, please click here.