The refugee’s nostalgia through poetry.

I took the above photo in the autumn of 2015 in Kabul, on the outskirts of where I was born.

It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been back home. This time last year, my country fell to the Taliban a second time and so did my hopes of ever going back to make films there, and most importantly, a life.

But like all refugees through the centuries, we love our country from afar and sometimes, it calls to us.

I’ve recently stumbled on some small poems that have echoes of Afghanistan within them. The mountains call me back. Here are some of those words below. See if you can hear the mountains too.

I asked my mother once,
where does the heart go
when it’s ripped from
the motherland?

she handed me her own
and said,
wherever you carry it.

- Maza Dohta

my father speaks Udru,
language of dancing peacocks,
rosewater fountains -
even its curses are beautiful.

He speaks Hindi,
suave and melodic,
earthy Punjabi,
salty-rich as saag paneer,
coastal Swahili laced with Arabic.
He speaks Gujarati,
solid ancestral pride.

Five languages,
five different worlds.
Yet English
before white men.

~ Shailaji Patel

I pray that the grapes grow,
so the world gets drunk,
and they drunkenly stumble,
through the streets,
shoulder to shoulder,
Presidents and Beggars, together,
may the borders become drunk,
and Mohamad Ali, after 17 years,
can finally see his mother,
and Amina, after 17 years,
can touch the creases of her child’s dress.

I pray that the grapes grow,
may the river Amu raise its beautiful sons to the top,
may the Hindu Kush free her daughters,
for a moment may the guns forget to remember,
their duty to tear apart,
and may the knives forget to remember,
their duty to cut,
may pens write fire with fireworks.

I pray that the mountains reach other other,
and the oceans stretch to the heavens,
and steal his moon,
May the leopards and deers meet,
within the tavern.

I pray that drunkenness spreads to things,
to break cages and walls,
and you,
as you hold and kiss your lover,
remember me too,
my lover,
my distant lover,
drink one last cup with me.

~ Illyass Alawi