Winter School Days in Kandahar

The arrival of winter reminds me of those rainy days when I was going to school

Sleepless from the cold nights and the tup-tup sound of raindrops leaking from the roof

Cold air through the broken windows waking me up from my warm bed

Each morning my mother making me hot tea and naan (bread) with her kind, soft hands

Walking in my burqa through the long, narrow streets of our neighborhood

Holding my blowing burqa tightly to cover my school uniform from unwanted views

Folding it around myself to warm up my cold hands and red running nose

Bundling up my white pants and burqa to jump over puddles across a broken bridge

Cheering in my heart like an Olympic champion for succeeding in crossing the broken bridge

My burqa flying in the wind like small birds learning to fly in the sky

Slipping and getting my school uniform and shoes muddy before reaching the bus station

Pleased to arrive at school, like a lost bird returning to the nest after a long voyage

Being punished by the school’s monitors for being late and wearing a messy uniform

Those freezing classrooms with hollow windows and doors giving me flu and fever

Finding raindrops on each page of my books, like the shabnam (dew drops) Spring brings to leaves and flowers

The cracked benches like rocks freezing in the mountain

Snuggling with my friends and classmates to warm each other against the cold

Praying for sunshine to melt our frozen muscles

The arrival of winter giving us a lesson on how to be strong against hardship

The end of winter giving us a blossom of hope for Spring

By Safia


  1. A lesson of strength, a blossom of hope. What beautiful images. What a lovely poem.

  2. The imagery you use in this is perfect. The tup, tup of the rain drops, your burqa flying in the wind like small birds learning to fly, the cracked benches like frozen rocks in the mountains — superb. I am in awe of how you can paint a scene and describe it so that I am there too.

  3. Hi Safia,

    I was so honored and inspired to read your beautiful words in front of a FULL HOUSE of people in DC! I was more than moved by your words and imagery and humor as was the audience. I look forward to reading your next poem, essay, or monologue!

    All the best,


  4. Elisabeth Lehr says:


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