Poems

Let’s Unite

Notes

Our literal translator, Dawood Azami explained that he chose this poem by the young Pashto poet Syed Shah Saud because of its global outlook and message, which seemed appropriate to our troubled times (our workshop fell just one week after Donald Trump’s election victory.) It is a piece that is reminiscent of much performance poetry in the UK – political, rhetorical, using metre and rhyme in a loose, fluid way and building to an emotional climax through repetition. 
The group were particularly struck by the lovely images that suggest the separation of things that come from a common source: the fingers, the rays, the yellow leaves. We changed ‘black stones’ into ‘black pebbles’ to suggest many small stones that originally came from the same rock. We also noticed a thread of bodily imagery going through the poem – feet, hands and heartbeats all give a visceral sense of the violence done to humanity. One participant suggested that because of this we should use ‘common tongue’ instead of ‘common language’, and it was agreed this made the line more vivid. The imagery of dismemberment is very powerful – the line about separating ‘sense from senses’ feels particularly apposite in this historical moment.

Clare Pollard, Workshop Facilitator

Our literal translator, Dawood Azami explained that he chose this poem by the young Pashto poet Syed Shah Saud because of its global outlook and message, which seemed appropriate to our troubled times (our workshop fell just one week after Donald Trump’s election victory.) It is a piece that is reminiscent of much performance poetry in the UK – political, rhetorical, using metre and rhyme in a loose, fluid way and building to an emotional climax through repetition. 

The group were particularly struck by the lovely images that suggest the separation of things that come from a common source: the fingers, the rays, the yellow leaves. We changed ‘black stones’ into ‘black pebbles’ to suggest many small stones that originally came from the same rock. We also noticed a thread of bodily imagery going through the poem – feet, hands and heartbeats all give a visceral sense of the violence done to humanity. One participant suggested that because of this we should use ‘common tongue’ instead of ‘common language’, and it was agreed this made the line more vivid. The imagery of dismemberment is very powerful – the line about separating ‘sense from senses’ feels particularly apposite in this historical moment.

Clare Pollard, Workshop Facilitator

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