Trench Friend

I’ve been thumbing through Poetry of the Taliban and of all the poems I’ve read this one stuck with me the most. If you like it, go buy the book.

Trench Friend

May my head and property be sacrificed for you, friend,
O my trench friend.
May my heart’s flesh be sacrificed for you, friend,
O my trench friend.

May I be sacrificed for you – may I be sacrificed for your faith,
You are close in the trench, my faith in you grew stronger,
O my trench friend.

You take on tanks – you go with pride,
You don’t fear the artillery or tanks of the enemy,
O my trench friend.

On the storms of the time – on the floods of the time,
You don’t care about them, may you be as strong as mountains
against them,
O my trench friend.

In the bosom of red flames – in the bosom of storms,
You like them, you have the morals of the butterfly and the sea,
O my trench friend.

In the roar of earthquakes – in the roars of storms,
The echoes of your honor are spread all over,
O my trench friend.

O my brave friend – my dawn’s friend
May your turban not fall, my turban-owning friend,
O my trench friend.

-Bismillah Sahar
May 2000

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Poetry of the Taliban: a book for your rucksack

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Poetry of the Taliban is a new book by fellow SOAS alum Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn. It is a compilation of poems written by members of the Taliban and posted to their website. I’ve never been to Afghanistan, but if I do go, this will be going with me.

The fact that this book exists says more about the Taliban than you will probably learn from all the intelligence briefs your brain can handle.

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