Kafiristan short poem

The HinduKush
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..

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3 Comments on "Kafiristan"

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Editorial Board

Welcome to HoP @john-marks and what a great beginning..Awed by the power of your writing and the simplicity with which you convey the sense of loss experienced by a once ‘free’ people..the historic milieu and the references, which would have required deep research, transport one to a different land and time and one wishes that it could be possible to see it once again as a land of faith – and not Kafiristan as you say. Stupendous work, look forward to many more!

Editorial Board

@john-marks The Editorial board knew, from the day we read your poem, that whenever we introduced this section of the editorial favourites you would figure here because this one was truly special and so informative about a world so little known to most. But we re-iterate what we said earlier, you really must give us the pleasure of reading more of your brave and brilliant writing so here’s wishing to hear from you soon, congratulations and well deserved!