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kurdish love poems

Why Kurdish?

[An extract from Mem u Zin by Ehmede Xani, Translated by Eziz Bawermend, in Fire, Snow and Honey: Voices from Kurdistan, Gina Lennox, Halstead Press 2001]

When ignorance reigned supreme,

Empty found Xani the chair of wisdom.

So, not because of this qualifications or competence,

But just for the loyalty to his people and passion to preserve,

In short, due to determination, or helplessness and desperation

He did commit this act, against the prevailing custom and tradition. [1]

He threw caution to the wind and took the plunge.

Seemingly made of pearls and precious stones,

The language of the Kurds he reorganized,

And thus for the people he suffered,

So that no one can say, The Kurds are unjust, baseless, without origin;

Various people have Books, [2] only the Kurds do not."

So that men of thought cannot say, "The Kurds

Did not choose love as one of their aims.

Altogether they neither want nor are wanted,

Altogether they neither love nor are loved.

The taste of love did not fall to their lot,

Devoid are they of metaphoric as well as true love."

Definitely not" The Kurds are not so green,

But they are waifs and powerless.

Unwise and ignorant they are not,

Just deprived and dispossessed.

If we had a leader to look after us,

A compassionate one who knew the subtleties;

If science, intellect, maturity,

Poetry, prose, reason and wisdom

Were the things he valued in his court,

Honored as valid currency and legal tender,

Then I would raise the flag of poetry

To the top of a mast that towered the earth.

I would recall from the heavens the spirit of Melaye Ciziri,

And along with him I would resurrect Eli Heriri,

I would give such joy to Feqiye Teyra, [3]

So they would remain content for all eternity.

But what am I to do? The market is rather still.

There are no customers for vintage wine.

Especially in this day and age, the purse

Has become the friend and darling to us all.

That is, greed for money and gold,

Each, has become our sweetheart.

If you sell all of science for one cent,

If you give all philosophy in exchange for a pair of shoes,

No one will take them to blaze the trail.

No one will come to the party.

When we realized that such is our day and age,

When we realized fighting is all for money,

We took to becoming alchemists,

And then we saw that this was not possible,

We acted with fairness for a while

And we cleaned counterfeit jewels [4]

Deception wasn't the heart's desire,

As a go-between, it never acted.

Faith we lost in religion, and gold we never came by,

Out of desperation, at the end, we became coppersmiths.

For exhibition we brought out our hidden copper,

All blank were they, with no seals, so we prayed.

Our prayers were answered in the positive,

Vehicles they became for out task.

Although these coins are not legal tender,

They are simple, clean and precious.

Without deceit and pretence, they are complete,

And handy are they for people to do their business.

It is pure Kurdish, no doubt about it.

Gold it is not, so they cannot say, "It is low in carat."

Silver it is not, so they cannot say, "It has faded."

Our own red copper it is, this quite clear.

Of our currency do not say, "Worthless it is."

It lacks only the stamp of those preceding the Shahs.

Had it been decorated with seals and stamps

But with no demand, it would not have remained.

It is a darling unattached to anyone.

Therefore, demand guilty, without intention.

Currencies of people with no powerful backers,

Unless stamped with the seals of sovereigns,

Are spoiled an useless, according to many scholars,

But are highly regarded by many philosophers.

Yet the sovereign of our time, knowledgeable man,

Did not listen to us with an ear to understand,

Mirza [5] is this gentleman's name,

Whose looks are pure alchemy.

Deceitful hearts he transforms to crystal,

Counterfeit coins he transmutes to pure gold.

Were there a hundred loads of red counterfeit coins,

To yellow he would instantly convert with one look.

He brings down the exalted to the lowest with his wrath,

And elevates the lowest to the pinnacle with his favor.

He detains generals like captives,

Then releases them like derelicts.

Without obligation or expectation of anything in return,

He makes rich with his benevolent hand

Thousands of poor and desperate every day,

Hundreds of beggars every moment.

Had he looked at us once,

Had he turned his blessed face towards us,

All these coins would be transmuted into gold,

All these words would be turned to poetry.

But very dear is his look.

Therefore, he did not look at us specifically.

However, a blessing for the populace is he,

So, oh God, grant him continuity.

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It's been a while since I've been here and I'm glad I checked in. I have to diesarge with you on this. The Turks will continue to posture and saber rattle. That's what they do and have done. They threatened to cut off all trade with France when a law was introduced making it a criminal offense to deny the Armenian genocide (much less than our non-binding resolution). Trade was in fact never cut off and has increased since the law was passed. This has been the case with many other countries.I don't think it will be any different with the US. The Turks are a lot of talk. They have already engaged the PKK in Northern Iraq and will continue to do so in a limited manner to fly under the international radar.The genocide resolution resolution fits in perfectly with the ideals of the US. We preach human rights to others, yet refuse to recognize the atrocities being committed around the globe (let alone our own participation in human torture). This is a human rights issue and will go a long way to bring the US in line with the rest of the world (something we seem to have forgotten how to do). Besides, it's non-binding and has nothing to do with the current governing body in Turkey.The US needs to continue to recognize genocide for what it is. We should under no circumstance sweep it under the rug as we have done with Rwanda, Darfur, etc. etc. The US championed the cause to come to the aid of the Armenians when the genocide happened and we should champion the recognition that it in deed took place.I need to do some more research, but I believe recognition of the Armenian genocide is, or will become, a condition of Turkey's admittance to the EU. Good luck there. Genocide should not be ignored, nor should it be downplayed as insignificant or overblown. The EU seems to have figured this one out. Why can't we?Nancy Pelosi has put the resolution on the back burner for now, but has reassured her commitment to bring it to the full House for a vote. I hope she does. There are enough representatives in congress committed to pass it with a handy majority too. I've called Rep. Cannon several times and expressed my support and have urged all of my friends and family to call their representatives as well.I'll get a good chuckle when the Turks back down from all of the saber rattling and fear-mongering rhetoric as they have done with everyone else. Precedence is on our side.

Our Trouble - Ehmede Khani

Our Trouble

Bartender! For the love of God, please
Pour some wine into the crystal glass
Let the glass with the wine show the world
Let there appear whatever it is that we wish
Let the events ahead of us come to light
Let us know if the future holds promise for us
Look! Our misfortune has reached its zenith,
Has it started to come down do you think?
Or will it remain so,
Until come upon us the end of time?
Is it possible, I wonder, that for us, too
A star will emerge out of the firmament?
Let the luck be on our side for once,
Let our lady luck wake up for change.
Let there emerge from within us, too,
One to shoulder the earth
Let there be a king of our own, too.
Let his sword attest to our might
Let it be known the power of our pen,
Let there be an answer to our trouble
Let there be an demand for our knowledge.
If we had an exalted leader,
A do-gooder wanting a poem
Our bullion, too, would be stamped
It wouldn't be so unwanted and suspect.
However pure and clean they may be,
Value is added to gold and silver with a stamp
If we had a king,
If God saw him deserving of a crown
If a throne was appointed to him,
Our luck would turn around.
If he, too, was provided with a crown
Of course, for us too there would be respect.
He would feel sorry for us orphans,
He would set us free from bondage to the cravens.
They would not be vicorious over us these Turks
Ours would not turn into ghost towns,
We wouldn't become fugitives, dispossessed, wretched,
We wouldn't bow our heads in defeat to the Turks, the Tadjiks
But God made it so from time memorial
He made the Turks and the Persians attack us.
Although it is disgraceful to be their subjects,
This disgrace belongs to the persons of repute
This is a matter of honor for the Chiefs, the leaders
What can the troubadours and the dispossessed do?
Who ever took the mighty sword in his hand,
Established in a manly manner a state for himself.
Becuase the world is like a prize bride,
Its fate, too, is determined by the mighty sword
But its dowry [2], trousseau, jewels and wedding presents
Are goodness, generosity, kindness and forgiveness.

I asked the world, "What is your dowry?"
"Benevolence", it said to me.
In short, "with the sword and goodness,
the world submits and bows its head to man".
I am confused by God's wisdom:
In this world of States
Why have the Kurds remained Stateless, dispossessed,
What for have they all become fugitives, condemned?
They have conquered the spring of fame with sword
They have subjugated the land of benevolence
Every one of their chiefs is of Hatem's generosity
And of Rostem's [3] bravery is every one of their men
Look! From Arbia to Georgia
It is all but Kurdish lands like a fortress
Like a great wall the Kurds stand between the Turks and the Persians
Here and there are all the Kurds occupying all four corners
Both sides make the Kurdish clans
Targets of their poison-tipped arrows
As if the Kurds hold the key to crossing the borders
Each clan is as strong as a great wall
However rough and stromy they get
These Turkish ocean and Persian sea
It is the Kurds who are splattered with blood
And like a rampart separates the two.
Generosity, benevolence, bravery,
Chivalry, guardianship and valor
All are credited to the Kurdish clans
The fame of their sword and their benevolence is farflung
To the same extent they cherish freedom and independence,
They hate submission and obligations.
It is the spirit of independence and exalted bevevolence
That has become the obstacle to shouldering the burden of obligation
Always without unity it is because of this
Divided and pitched against one another they stand
If we had unity amongst ourselves,
If we all together obeyed one another
The Turks, the Arabs and the Persians
Would all together be in our servitude
Then we would perfect the art of government and religion
Then we would acquire all the wisdom and command nature
Wheat would be separarated from the chaff then,
Would come forth the real achievers then.

[2]Kurdistan, dowry is what the bridegroom pays his bride's hand.
[3]Hatem and Rostem are legendary figures renowed for their generosity and bravery.

Translation: Shahin Baker and Bawermend

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