The poems reproduced below were collected by Sayd Bahodine Majrouh author of “Songs of Love and War – Afghan Women’s Poetry”
The landay which means “little one” in Pashtun, is composed and sung by women when they are gathered, usually for work, since leisure is the prerogative of males. In the landay, the Pashtun woman is no longer confined in a burqa, and she is no longer constrained by the bonds of society or religion.
Gather some wood and make a great fire
For it is my wont to give myself in the bright light.
The heart, as well as tenderness and loyalty, are reserved for the lover, not the husband, “the little horror”.
Quickly my love, I want to offer you my mouth!
Death is roaming through the village and could carry me off.
Come, my beloved, and come quickly!
The “little horror” lies in slumber and you may kiss me now.
The landay is a perpetual cry of separation. A woman is an article of exchange for money or political advantage. If she has the luck and skill to take a lover after marriage, she will know that their meetings will be seldom and each one could lead to her death.
Already the accursed rooster and his sad departure song
And my lover leaving like a wounded bird.