No Desire to Open my Mouth



No desire to open my mouth,
what should I sing of . . . ?
I, who am hated by life.
no difference to sing or not to sing.
Why should I talk of sweetness,
when I feel bitterness?
Oh, the oppressor’s fist
broke my mouth.
I have no companion in life
—who can I be sweet for?
No difference to speak, to laugh,
to die, to live.
My strained solitude,
with sorrow and sadness,
I was born for nothingness.
My mouth should be sealed.
Oh my heart, you know it is spring
and time to celebrate.
What can I do with a caught wing,
which does not let me fly?
I have been silent too long,
but I never forget the melody.
Each moment I whisper
the songs from my heart,
reminding me of
the day I will break this cage,
fly from this loneliness
and sing like a melancholic.
I am not a weak poplar tree
to be shaken by any wind.
I am an Afghan woman—
it only makes sense to wail.

(Nadia Anjuman,  Herat, Afghanistan, 1980-2005)

Translated by Mahnaz Badihian – Stanley Barkan