Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Doug Anderson: Landays

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.

Photo: Poetry Foundation


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This entry was posted on November 5, 2019 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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