Kabul greeted me solemnly,
as if her eyes had seen more than mine.
As if she was relieved by the sight
of a familiar foreigner, relieved by the scent
of fresh blood that didn’t pose a threat,
but yearned to kiss her cheeks, and eyes
and hands, three times on each side,
to be exact.
And she has.
She has seen over four
million bodies, some lifeless, some
full of life, some sleep walking in disarray,
as if recovering from the wrath of jinns that rode on
her shoulder blades, creeping beneath the floors.
And she urged me on, invited me in, hesitantly,
to see her blue circular vein that ties Kandahar, Herat
and Mazare- Sharif, by a common pain,
She urged me to taste the past, her complex
and broken history, a fragment of
time that grew on soils that cultivated
hope, love and civility;
when men and women mingled,
in unity, uninhabited and
unrestrained from the natural ways
of speech and gesture that marked the raw
essence of her cultural truth and inherited dignity.
Yes, she urged me to see
with a different vision, a new clarity:
dried fruits, nuts, rugs,
leather, sheep skin, furniture and
antiques, all materials hung loose,
on loose threads through the dry yet
mucky streets. And villages were left with
the bitter aftertaste of battles that
left scars on faces, hands and feet,
some dried with blood, others buried
She urged me to observe the tainted
scars of her swollen cells, a city torn,
by a tug of war, by blood-lineages that
died carelessly in the arms of cruel
destinies. She urged me to let go, let
go of all pain, of revenge, of all religious
teachings, of all atoms of hatred,
and of all hands that reeked of Kabuli Palue
and pride, amongst the fractured bones,
and abandoned streets; when do the
And she urged me to see,
through dusty roads, half broken
houses and crippled farms, all the
dead regimes and old dynasties
that taught the flesh to walk on
glass, to live recklessly, and breath
against the heavy air of suspicious
eyes that lurked around amidst religious
chatter and afternoon tea; some poisoned,
some out of reach.
And she urged me to see that
those who tempted, had nothing to lose,
not their souls, or shoes, or homes, or voice.
The consequences of the unforeseen,
must be seen with cautious eyes.
This was Kabul, she urged, urged me,
urged me to see! This was the capital
of dreams and faint possibilities.
No fictitious martyrs can break it down.
No crooked politician can claim it loose,
blow it apart or possess her heart,
too good for tainted hands that wiped
the blood of innocent civilians
No! Not here.
Here she urged me to stay
for a while.To drink
scented tea, to watch my step,
to mind the frail stares and
busy side-streets that rushed
to breath, breathlessly, to rebuild
with an urgent flow, better and
bigger dynasties, truer paths,
while selling naan on the go.
And to talk of peace,
of how rulers would no longer rule.
How pomegranates will ripe
splendidly, how fear in the air
will dissipate, how lovers will
not hesitate, when women
empower the powerless in her
mini dress made of skin, of flesh,
of blood that runs astray,
wildly and willingly,
into the wind.
And what was before,
will be again.
Copyright @ Author V.S. Atbay
From: Epiphany A Collection of Poems
Publisher: Friesenpress, 2013