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Kurdish Poems (in English)

The greatest kurdish poet ( Cigerxwin )

Cigerxwin ("The bleeding heart"), is a pseudonym for Sheikmous Hasan. He came from north Kurdistan and was mainly known as a poet. He made a great impact on Kurdish poetry through his work. He produced books on Kurdish history, literary history , Kurdish grammar and also a dictionary. He was born in 1901 or 1903 in the Kurdish village of Hesar close to city the of Mardin within the then Ottoman Empire. In 1925 he fled to Syria, in 1958 to Iraq and in 1970s to Lebanon. In 1979 he again fled from oppression to Sweden aged 76. Here he was able to publish several collections of poetry that no publisher in the Middle East had wanted to publish, due to the infected Kurdish question. Cigerxwin has often been called the father of Kurdish literature. He died in Sweden in 1984.

Who am I?
who am I, you ask ?
The kurd of Kurdistan,
a lively volcano,
fire and dynamite
in the face of enemy.
When furious,
I shake the mountains,
the sparks of my anger
are death to my foes.
Who am I ?

I am in the east,
forts and castles
towns and hamlets,
rouks and boulders,
What irony, what a shameful day !
A slave I am now for blood suckers
Yet I saved the Middle East
from the Romans and the crusaders.
Who am I ?

Ask the Near East,
Ask the Middle East,
villages and towns,
plains and deserts.
They were once all mine
when by war and knowledge
I defeated rivals
to become crowned over an empire
stretching to the borders of India.
Who am I ?

I am the proud Kurd,
the enemies' enemy,
the friend of peace-loving ones.
I am of noble race,
not wild as they claim.
My mighty ancestors
were free people.
Like them I want to be free
and that is why I fight
for the enemy won't leave in peace
and I don't want to be forever oppressed.
Who am I ?

I shall free my land
from the tyrants;
from the crrupt Shah and Mollas,
from the Turkish juntas
so we may live free
like other nations,
so my gardens and meadows
are mine again;
So I can join the struggle
for the good of mankind.
Who am I ?

It was I who defeated
Richard the Lionheart
My own blood I shed
to defend these regions.
A thorn I was in my enemies' side;
in my shadow lived the Arabs, Turks and Persian;
many a king held my horse's head.
Yes I am the warrior,
I am Saladin,
the King of Egypt, Syria and Israel.
Who am I ?

I am Ardashir,
I am Noshi Rawan.
In the acient days
rivals feared my caesars
regretted my animosity.
I knew no fright;
in love with adventure;
from India to Greece
they paid me tribute.
Who am I ?

Yes, I am the Kurd,
the Kurd of Kurdistan
who is poor and oppressed today.
My castles and forts
are now demolished;
my name and my fame'
swindled by my assailants,
those who set germs into my body
to paralize my existence
making a nameless soul of me;
a nation with no friends.
Who am I?

I am the one who despite it all
remains the unyielding Kurd;
still formidable to the enemy.
The smell of dynamite is again in my nostrils
and in my heart the strong desire to erupt.
I am the fighting valiant of mountains
who is not in love with death
but for the sake of life and freedom
he sacrifices himself
so that the land of his ancestors,
the invincible Medes;
his beloved Kurdistan , may become unchained.
Who am I?

One of my ancestors was the Blacksmith Kawa
who slayed Dahak, the notorious tyrant
to break off chains from Kurdish shoulders
and save many heads from the sword and death.
The day his vicious reign ended
was called NEWROZ, the New Day.
When Newroz comes winter departs
taking with it the dark harsh times
to make place for light and warmth.
This is the time, as Zoroaster says,
the evil spirit Ahriman is defeated
at the hand of Ormazd, the god of wisdom and light.
Who am I?

I am the maker of Newroz;
again I shall become my own master,
the ruler of my land
so I may enjoy the fruits of my orchards,
relish the sacred wines of my vineyards
and put an end to a dark era
by seeking salvation in knowledge and science;
I shall make another new day
and breathe the pure air of the liberty.
Who am I?

I am Kordokh, the good old Khaldew;
I am Mitan; Nayri and Sobar;
the son of Lo Lo; Kardok and Kodi;
I am the Mede, the Gosh, Hori and Gudi;
I am the Kurmanc, Kelhor; Lor and Gor;
yes, I have always been and remain the Kurd.
Despite centuries of suppression
in a country by force divided.
Who am I?

I am the son of Lor, Kelhor and Kurmanc
who have lost crown and reign
to become powerless,
betrayed in the name of religion
to carry rosaries in their hands
duped by the rulers,
deprived of might and wealth,
fighting each other, divided and torn
while my oppressed Kurdistan,
my wretched Kurdistan
remains prossessed.
Who am I?

The son of the Kurdish nation
awaken from deep sleep,
marching forward,
proud as a lion
wanting the whole world to know;
I shall struggle and continue the path to freedom;
I shall learn from great men,
Like Marx and Lenin.
I make a vow to my ancestors,
to Salar, Shergo and Deysem,
that this of mine will remain vigorous, unyielding, stronger than death.
Let it be kown;
I announce with no fear;
Liberty is my goal;
I shall advance in this path.
Who am I ?

I am not blood thirsty;
no, I adore peace.
Noble were my ancestors;
sincere are my leaders,
We don't ask for war but demand equality
but our enemies are the ones who betray and lie.
Friendship I seek and offer my hands
to all friendy nations.
Long live Kurdistan;
death to the oppressor!!!

Translation: Shahin Baker.

Kurdish Poet Xani

Ehmede Khani, the greatest Kurdish poet ever, lived between 1650-1707, in Cizire, a town that lies in the province of Mardin. Ehmede Xani, the author of "Mem and Zin", the great Kurdish love story is considered to be the epogee of Kurdish literture. Ehmede Xani's work is a clear evidence of the reality of the Kurdish literature since the tenth century. Xani, back in the 1600's saw and wrote the Kurdish situation. In his work Kurdish patriotism and Kurdish reality are incredibly powerful. When people of the region were in the midst of religious conflicts and identified themselves as Christians or Mohammedan (moslems) instead of their ethnic origins, Xani's thesis for an independent Kurdistan was all too advanced. The remarkable fact is that Xani lived before the rise of modern nationalism.


Our Trouble

Bartender! For the love of God, please
Pour some wine into the crystal glass
Let the glass with the wine show the world
Let there appear whatever it is that we wish
Let the events ahead of us come to light
Let us know if the future holds promise for us
Look! Our misfortune has reached its zenith,
Has it started to come down do you think?
Or will it remain so,
Until come upon us the end of time?
Is it possible, I wonder, that for us, too
A star will emerge out of the firmament?
Let the luck be on our side for once,
Let our lady luck wake up for change.
Let there emerge from within us, too,
One to shoulder the earth
Let there be a king of our own, too.
Let his sword attest to our might
Let it be known the power of our pen,
Let there be an answer to our trouble
Let there be an demand for our knowledge.
If we had an exalted leader,
A do-gooder wanting a poem
Our bullion, too, would be stamped
It wouldn't be so unwanted and suspect.
However pure and clean they may be,
Value is added to gold and silver with a stamp
If we had a king,
If God saw him deserving of a crown
If a throne was appointed to him,
Our luck would turn around.
If he, too, was provided with a crown
Of course, for us too there would be respect.
He would feel sorry for us orphans,
He would set us free from bondage to the cravens.
They would not be vicorious over us these Turks
Ours would not turn into ghost towns,
We wouldn't become fugitives, dispossessed, wretched,
We wouldn't bow our heads in defeat to the Turks, the Tadjiks
But God made it so from time memorial
He made the Turks and the Persians attack us.
Although it is disgraceful to be their subjects,
This disgrace belongs to the persons of repute
This is a matter of honor for the Chiefs, the leaders
What can the troubadours and the dispossessed do?
Who ever took the mighty sword in his hand,
Established in a manly manner a state for himself.
Becuase the world is like a prize bride,
Its fate, too, is determined by the mighty sword
But its dowry [2], trousseau, jewels and wedding presents
Are goodness, generosity, kindness and forgiveness.

I asked the world, "What is your dowry?"
"Benevolence", it said to me.
In short, "with the sword and goodness,
the world submits and bows its head to man".
I am confused by God's wisdom:
In this world of States
Why have the Kurds remained Stateless, dispossessed,
What for have they all become fugitives, condemned?
They have conquered the spring of fame with sword
They have subjugated the land of benevolence
Every one of their chiefs is of Hatem's generosity
And of Rostem's [3] bravery is every one of their men
Look! From Arbia to Georgia
It is all but Kurdish lands like a fortress
Like a great wall the Kurds stand between the Turks and the Persians
Here and there are all the Kurds occupying all four corners
Both sides make the Kurdish clans
Targets of their poison-tipped arrows
As if the Kurds hold the key to crossing the borders
Each clan is as strong as a great wall
However rough and stromy they get
These Turkish ocean and Persian sea
It is the Kurds who are splattered with blood
And like a rampart separates the two.
Generosity, benevolence, bravery,
Chivalry, guardianship and valor
All are credited to the Kurdish clans
The fame of their sword and their benevolence is farflung
To the same extent they cherish freedom and independence,
They hate submission and obligations.
It is the spirit of independence and exalted bevevolence
That has become the obstacle to shouldering the burden of obligation
Always without unity it is because of this
Divided and pitched against one another they stand
If we had unity amongst ourselves,
If we all together obeyed one another
The Turks, the Arabs and the Persians
Would all together be in our servitude
Then we would perfect the art of government and religion
Then we would acquire all the wisdom and command nature
Wheat would be separarated from the chaff then,
Would come forth the real achievers then.

[2]Kurdistan, dowry is what the bridegroom pays his bride's hand.
[3]Hatem and Rostem are legendary figures renowed for their generosity and bravery.

Translation: Shahin Baker and Bawermend

Omar Khayyam 1048 - 1131

Read about His Excellency Omar Khayyam, the greatest poet ever lived.

Click to hear Omar Khayyam's Quatrains in Audio.

Omar Khayym the Skeptic

(These poems were translated by Edward FitzGerald)

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
  The Tavern shouted - "Open then the Door!
You know how little time we have to stay,
  And once departed, may return no more."

Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
  And that after a TO-MORROW stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
  "Fools! your reward is neither Here nor There!"

Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
  Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
  Are scatter'd, and their mouths are stopt with Dust.

Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
  To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
  The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
  Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
  Came out of the same Door as in I went.

With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
  And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd -
  "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
  Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
  I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
  Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
  Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
  Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help - for It
  Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

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Last updated:   20/09/2010