Read My Poems on the Reddish Stream of My Blood

I want to write, I want to write about
my dreams which never come true,
my power that has always been ignored,
my voice which is never heard by this deaf universe,
my rights which have never been counted,
my life decisions which are always made by others.
Oh my destiny, give me the answer, what am I for in this universe?
What does it mean to be an Afghan woman?
Hmm, I know you can’t provide me with an elegant answer so
Just give me the pen, the hidden pen
So that I can write, that is all I am asking for!

I promise I will take revenge, but not like men
by gun and sword and aggression,
Instead I will write. I will write even if I am warned not to touch a pen or paper,
I know one thing, that
they can’t see that hidden pen with their blind eyes, no matter how strong their vision.
My eyes will read my environment; my brain will save the details,
and I will write with the hidden pen on the chambers of my heart,
so that when I am caught and executed,
perhaps in Ghazi stadium like other innocent Afghan women,
people can read my poems on the reddish stream made by my blood.

I will start writing with the hidden pen, and
I know this will lead to a day when girls of this land will be able to write
with chalk on the blackboards of the school
or by markers on the whiteboards of universities;
and one day they will make their voice heard;
then the hidden pen will be remembered forever!

By Emaan

photo: Natalie Behring

Many thanks to Eva Amat for translating Emaan’s poem into Spanish

Lee mis poemas en el rojizo reguero de sangre

Quiero escribir, quiero escribir sobre
Mis sueños, los cuales nunca se hacen realidad,
Mi poder, que siempre ha sido ignorado,
Mi voz, la cual nunca es escuchada por este universo inmutable
Mis derechos, los cuales nunca se han tenido en cuenta,
Las decisiones sobre mi vida, tomadas siempre por otros.
Oh destino, dame la respuesta, ¿para qué estoy en este universo?
¿Qué significa ser una mujer afgana?
Hmm, sé que no puedes darme la respuesta deseada, así pues
Dame la pluma, la pluma secreta
Para que pueda escribir, eso es todo lo que pido.

Prometo que me vengaré, pero no como ellos
Con una pistola y una espada y agresividad,
En su lugar escribiré.
Escribiré incluso habiendo sido advertida de no tocar una pluma o un papel,
Sé una cosa, que ellos no pueden ver la pluma secreta con su
Ceguera, da igual lo fuerte que sea su visión.
Mis ojos leerán todo lo que me rodea, mi cerebro retendrá los detalles,
Y yo escribiré con la pluma secreta en los recovecos de mi corazón,
Para que cuando me cojan y sea ejecutada,
Quizás en el estadio Ghazi como otras mujeres afganas inocentes,
La gente pueda leer mis poemas en el rojizo reguero de mi sangre.

Empezaré a escribir con la pluma secreta, y
Sé que eso llevará a que un día las chicas de esta tierra puedan
Escribir con tiza en las pizarras de la escuela
O con rotuladores en sus libretas de la universidad,
Y un día harán que sus voces sean escuchadas –
Entonces, la pluma secreta será recordada para siempre.

Por Emaan


  1. Naomi Benaron says:

    Wow! “Read my poems on the reddish stream made by my blood.” The power of this image will stay in my blood. This is such strong work! It is a fire that cannot be put out.
    Thank you!

  2. Very powerful Emaan, good for you!

  3. Emaan,

    “………I will start writing with the hidden pen……”

    The words you pen weave a very fine tapestry of how “the reddish stream made by” your “blood” will create a knowing far slower than the gun, but far more powerful than hatred. Red words of deep intuition. Knowledge more ancient than “their blind eyes” or “their vision”. Thankyou.

  4. Judith Prest says:

    Your words went straight to my heart. Keep that hidden pen moving! Keep writing from the heart… You are doing such important work! Thank you for sharing your words with us across the world.

  5. This is great stuff! Keep up the good work Emaan!!

  6. Tina Busch-Nema says:

    Keep writing…find and take up that hidden pen. No man can stop your mind from thinking. No man can stop the hidden pen from writing down your beautiful thoughts! No matter how difficult (and I am sure it is so very, very, very hard) keep using your hidden pen.

    You are hope for the world…hope for a better tomorrow. You give me so much hope. You share so much beauty.

    I promise to continue to write as well because we all have dreams to share with others through our writing.

  7. Dear Emaan-
    Your words are so poignant and perfectly chosen. This poem brings tears to my eyes and inspires me for the strength that runs through it. You are a brave woman with a powerful point of view. Never let that be silenced and know that your pen is not so hidden after all. Others across the world are reading your words and sending as much hope as we can muster.

  8. Kelly Caldwell says:

    Dear Emaan — The AWWP director Richelle McClain gave me the enormous honor of reading your poem at a conference of writers here in the U.S. – the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. The audience gasped aloud at your line about Ghazi stadium, and also murmured and nodded at the line about chalkboards and whiteboards.
    I thought you should know, your words moved an audience of about 100 people. I wish you could have been there to see it

  9. Allison Keller says:

    Dear Emaan,
    I will give you a million hidden pens until your voice is heard. It will lead to a day for young girls to be seen as equals and humans. You day will come and there will be no need for your hidden pens. Thank you so much for sharing you work. Do not let anyone else define who you are. Your work is very encouraging. Keep writing!!


  1. […] Hiding what/who you are can kill the spirit, or it can inspire you to a most powerful revolutionary way of life – as this woman has chosen in Afghanistan. Amplify’d from […]

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