mountains of the moon
and the valleys where we lived,
with the fairies and the spirits of the wood..
We bred the shen – the bravest of the horse tribe –
and grew the scented root – the Yu-kin –
we had our coins – copper, silver, gold –
and our open-faced beautiful women,
they dressed so colourfully in furs and wool
loved as they wished
changed their husbands on a whim,
grew old in love and children..
We men, we carved our wood
statues for the temples
decorations for the birthing huts
we grew much fruit and grain
we had many gods –
but the fairies cursed us,
brought Abdur Rahman Khan,
with the plague of belief..
They burnt our temples and our carvings,
fire destroys the wood
that only time can make
and all we had was gone
our beautiful women covered
their faces in mourning
many, many died..
Even the red kafirs converted
they called our land ‘nuristan’
‘land of the enlightened ones’
now only the black kafirs remain,
the brave kalash
all else is dust
this is what it is to be a man..