Ghani Khan (1914-1996) is one of the best Pashto language poet of the 20th century, son of the legendary and peace and non-violence, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan holds a high place in pashto literature because of his humorous and satirical verses. He was not only a poet but also was a Painter and sculptor.
A poem by Ghani Khan
I am madness in raptures borne on an airy steed,
A hue of beloved eyes coloring up in dance.
Why, what am I made for, I neither know nor gather;
Now a mood, now melody, a voice that just rings on.
I am a flame descending to the heart’s hidden cellars;
I am a jingling joy, a drunkenness in raptures.
In your veins a fire, I am a quivering flame,
A sparkling radiance, burning passion, yearning.
I don’t exist; I’m wind, heaving joy on joy;
With tears in my cheer and sad, smiling eyes.
Speak up, madman! what makes you weep with me?
I spring in a spirited step and reach your blood a-swing.
A mere illusive thought or an ever-unfolding grace;
A reckless airy steed rushing through reflections;
Or made of beat and jingle a prayer that is heard.
Translated from Pashto by Taimur Khan
A Pashtun’s violent nature, strong body and tender heart make a very unstable combination for living, but an ideal one for poetry, love and color.
Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
Pashto Landay : A form of Afghan poetry
Pashto Landay Anonymous Pashto Couplets Landay are those national couplets in Pashto whose authors are unknown. They can, therefore, be called mirrors which reflect the sentiments and passions of every sensitive pashtoon man and woman. These couplets are sung and enjoyed among lofty mountains, verdant valleys, vast deserts and sylvan surroundings, in villages and towns, by the side of the cascading waterfall and the humble nomadic tent, on the shepherd’s flute and the orchard-keeper’s reed pipe, in short in every corner of the land of the Pashtoons. The oldsters sing them in memory of a youth which is no more; young men and maidens seek the intoxicating tumult of a passionate youth in their lines; for the lovelorn they are messengers of words sweet and divine; the swordsmen dance to their melody on the battlefield; and the weary traveler forgets the pangs of separation from home in their sweet words. These couplets, composed of plain, easily understood, yet fluent language, are totally free of the influence of foreign, languages. Although some pushto poems are based on Arabic prosody yet these couplets are not only unfettered by Arabic versification, they are based on a syllabic-prosody of their own in as much as the first line of the couplet has nine syllables and the second thirteen. Another outstanding quality of these couplets in that contrary to the general pattern of poetry in most (Landay) the woman address the man. This is so because compared to the male the sentiments of the female are more tender, her sorrow more profound and he voice more sweeter, and that is why the (Landay) are more moving in their effects, and the enjoyment is proportionately greatr than that found in conventional pushto poetry. Similarly every (Landay) couplet can be recited in different ways on different occasions. To be more explicit, a Landay couplet can be sung in different tunes and with different musical notes in combat and rejoicing, while traveling, whether inactive or dancing, in travail and happiness, in fact at all times and on all occasions.
ُExamples of Pashto landay.
پاس په كمر ولاړه ګله!
نصيب دچايي اوبه زه درخيژومه
O Flower that you grow on the mountain side;
The duty to water you belongs to me, but to whom would you belong?
زړه مي هلك دي راته ژاړي
چه رانه غواړي دپردي باغچوګلونه
My heart is like a child; it cries,
and demands flowers from a stranger’s garden.
ستا به د ګلو دوران تير شۍ
زما به پاته شۍ دزړه سوۍ داغونه
The blooming season of your beauty will pass;
But the scorched patches on my heart will always remain fresh.
په ګل ګلاب دي و ويشتمه
تر لاس دي جارشم دښمنانو وليدمه
You have thrown a rose at me;
blessed be thy hands, but malevolent eyes have noticed.
مخ دي ګلاب سترګي دي شمعي
نه پري پوهيږم چه بورا كه بتنګه شمه
Your face is a rose and your eyes are candles;
Faith! I am lost, should i become a butterfly or a moth?
زه دپسرلۍ تر ګل تازه وم
ستا په بيلتون كښي لكه پاڼه زيړه شوم
I used to be more fresh than spring blossoms, O Beloved!
But your separation has turned me yellow like an autumn leaf.
ستا په يوه تومت رنګ زيړشو
زه دتومت جامي په غاړه ګرزومه
Your cheeks have been paled with only one slander;
while I am clothed from head to foot with calumnies.
Read more here
Poetry is very famous in Afghanistan, it has long been a cultural tradition and passion for every Afghan. Almost all afghans have interest in poetry and for every occasion they have a poem on the tip of the tongue. On daily bases despite the war and the uncertainty of everything, public poetry gatherings are held every month and everyone shares their poetry which they write passionately. Normally, A lot of people attend these gatherings and it is one of great entertainment for young afghans.
Afghanistan was noted for its poetic language even before the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan in the 7th through 11th centuries. The Pata Khazana, if authentic, contains Pashto poetry written as far back as the 8th Century. Some of the famous poets from the region of Afghanistan through out history includes
Khushal Khan Khattak
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Timur Shah Durrani
Shuja Shah Durrani
Ghulam Muhammad Tarzi and many others.
Nowadays there are alot of young poets, Some of which are equally talented as these old poets. Most of Afghan youth take a keen interest in poetry no matter who they are, what society class they belong to or where they live.
Here are some random Afghan poems
Why think thus O men of piety - I have returned to sobriety
I am neither a Moslem nor a Hindu - I am not Christian, Zoroastrian, nor Jew
I am neither of the West nor the East - Not of the ocean, nor an earthly beast
I am neither a natural wonder - Nor from the stars yonder
Neither flesh of dust, nor wind inspire - Nor water in veins, nor made of fire
I am neither an earthly carpet, nor gems terrestrial - Nor am I confined to Creation, nor the Throne Celestial
Not of ancient promises, nor of future prophecy - Not of hellish anguish, nor of parasitic ecstasy
Neither the progeny of Adam, nor Eve - Nor of the world of heavenly make-believe
My place is the no-place - My image is without face
Neither of body nor the soul - I am of the Divine Whole.
I eliminated duality with joyous laughter - Saw the unity of here and the hereafter
Unity is what I sing, unity is what I speak - Unity is what I know, unity is what I seek
Intoxicated from the chalice of Love - I have lost both worlds below and above
Sole destiny that comes to me - Licentious mendacity
In my whole life, even if once - Forgot His name even per chance
For that hour spent, for such moment - I’d give my life, and thus repent
Beloved Master, Shams-e Tabrizi - In this world with Love I’m so drunk
The path of Love isn’t easy - I am shipwrecked and must be sunk.
” Raise your Words , not your Voice . It is Rain which grows up Leaves , not Thunder ” - Rumi .
“Only from the heart Can you touch the sky.” -Rumi
“my heart is a pen in your hand.
It is all up to you to write me happy or sad. ” -Rumi
Take everything away
and leave me alone with You.
Close every door and open the one to You. - Hakim sanai
Da chi waim da bal jahan bayan dei, rakuz shewei da kitab da bal asman dei.
That i say is a story of another world, a book descended from another sky. - hamza baba
Chi shepei kala rah shewama shi, pe dei wakht zema pe zre kei shur paida shi
chi rana la dunya lara shi rukhsat shi, de shair da zre dunya ta rana shi.
In the dead of the night when the deep silence reigns, a loud noise rises up in my heart;
when light departs the world and darkness falls, light comes to the inner world of the poet.
Here is link to Afghan poems translated in english
poems are best in their own language, when translated they lose their meaning or their taste of poetry. So here is a link to pashto poetry books if anyone understands.
By blood, we are immersed in love of you.
The youth lose their heads for your sake.
I come to you and my heart finds rest.
Away from you, grief clings to my heart like a snake.
I forget the throne of Delhi
when I remember the mountain tops of my Afghan land.
If I must choose between the world and you,
I shall not hesitate to claim your barren deserts as my own.