Stone Is Better

by Kajal Ahmad

Bewildered as leaves on the wind's wing,
drear as the space between motes of dust,
lustful as the gaze of fire, colourless
as water's dress, the days pass.

Stone is better, its dead life weightier
than the words of philosophers who
for a while deceived us, then left us bereft.
Its wisdom, like the hair ribbons
of primary school children, is simple and lovely.
When it wishes to be holy, it gives birth
to descendants like the 'hero stone' of Sheikh,
the prayer stone and black stone of the Prophet.
When it longs for eternity, it becomes
an architect and sculptor. Whenever
it wants to play with girls all day, it becomes
a fivestone and hopscotch pebble; it makes
women tell it their secrets before they press it
against the crumbling headstone of holy men.
To reach man's greatness, it sits on Sizeph's shoulder
until he stands for all human futility.
In fact, the stone of patience, the stone of stoning,
the burial and stepping stones, are brothers.
The wishing stone, the grinding stone,
the dolmeh and hamman stones, are sisters.
Our rocky geography is a defiant truth
born from a mountain. I wish I had been born
from a watery being, brimming with life.
Or from an airy substance, ever-changeable
and moody. Or descended from a living fire,
like all temples that are forever Zoroastrian.
Our geography is rocky which is why
our poems brim with talk of seas, captains
and ships we've never seen.
Our geography is defiant too which is why
pockets of our history are caked
with the crumbs of revolution and its victims.
It is also stubborn.

Our history is rocky which is why
our dreams are rife with massacre.
I want a new era and a new people,
a people who are poets and an era that is poetry.
I want a different road, a road
I will walk in the morning thinking of
birdsong and cooing, not of my own murder.
Because I want something different,
I am like a waiting apple.
I am worn out. I want to say goodbye to love.
Stone is better than humanity.
It's only because of all the lies, wars,
and oppression, that I say this.
We are killed only in the name of love,
deceived in the name of struggle.
Our courage is so small,
it gets lost in great pockets of fear
and we give up. I am worn out.
I want to say goodbye to life.
I want to be divorced from life.
Stone is better than humanity.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Choman Hardi

The final translated version of the poem is by Mimi Khalvati

Comments

  1. October 28th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    serfiraz says:

    hello it s me serfiraz l m from batman ..l live in istanbul at the moment...l m very happy when l heard  you are a kürdişh poetry...l was not know you but my girl frind she know you she ask to me do you know choman hardi l said l dont know she said she is a kürdişh poetry ...and she text to me this message in kürdişh ....be ku de heri here qedera te deli pey te be...after that nice words l was cry...but now when l read your poetry and poem...l m so happy we have a  like you kürdişh woman...