The Blue Cage

Mother, sister, girl under the blue burqa
No one can see my eyes, my face, even my family resemblance.

Who am I, woman under the burqa?

My beauty is covered. I can’t see the beautiful world.
It covers my identity and kills my personality.

Who am I under the blue burqa?

I want to fly from this blue cage.
I want to feel love and peace.
I want to take a pen and write dreams of freedom on the world walls.

Who am I under the blue burqa?

A mother who always suffers?
A sister who lost her brother?
A wife who lost her husband?
A citizen who lost her country in war?

Who am I under the blue burqa?

A mother who lost her son?
Where has he gone? Why did he take a gun instead of a pen?
Tell me he will come back alive or not.
Tell me he is coming back. He has gone to bring peace.
I am a useless woman under the blue burqa
Don’t look at me. I can’t help my country.
I am a prisoner under the blue burqa.

By Arifa

Photo: Barbara Millucci


  1. Dearest Arifa, this is beautiful and expressive!! That’s the beauty of pen and paper. You can pour out your heart, your pain and I pray joy will come your way.. Sincerely I will keep thoughts of you in my heart. I too have learned that freedom will come to my soul through writing..It is a gift!

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart and your mind with all of us. It is an honor to read your words and gain some understanding…

  3. Dear Arifa,
    Your words will stay in our hearts. “Under the blue burqa…”, the refrain is haunting and beautifully written. We send you our love and our wishes to share a a breath of freedom. Susan

  4. Keta Hodgson says:

    Dear Arifa – thank you for your beautiful poem. Though painful to contemplate all that it means, it is clear that your soul is alive and souring beyond the confines of the blue cage. Sending you warm hugs.

  5. what a tragic and yet beautiful poem. the suffering that women endure under such a repressive regime is far too much ignored. this poem has power—the power to affect people’s hearts.

  6. Dear Arifa,
    From under your blue burqa your words have flown free across thousands of miles and reached me in my house. Your beauty and your pain have escaped with your words and I have seen them, your words have been written here – I have read your dreams of freedom here in Australia, out here on these world walls!
    If I could as easily send love and peace in your heart and soul from me, who has no burqa, back to you inside the burqa, I would.
    With true respect – you are not useless, and your words are not prisoners,

  7. Allison Walker says:

    I want you to know that anyone who can write, express the pain and understanding in a poem this length, like you have is not a “worthless person”. You are far from that. I am very sorry that the people in your life, and the society that you live in treat you this way and make you feel worthless. I hope that the day will come soon when can step out of the burqa.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Arifa, your words are so powerful and create such imagery for me here half a world away. You are on to something when you ask “why did he take a gun instead of a pen?” Pen, paper and expressing your ideas are so much more powerful and can lead to longer lasting change than guns or war. Keep writing and sharing your thoughts and stories…
    Holding you gently in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Samuel Bloore says:

    Dear Arifa

    Your poem is a true testimony, Arifa, to being able to share your heart and mind through writing. Thank you for writing such an insightful piece that gave me perhaps a better understanding on what you are feeling in a society I have very miniscule understanding of. It was painful and hard at first to contemplate all the suffering you must feel under your ‘blue cage’. However, you show that your soul is alive and seeking freedom. Do not give up hope Arifa and one day I believe you will be able to step of the ‘blue cage’ and sour.

    I am very sincere for all the loss you have had in your life. For your son that took up a gun instead of a pen and not knowing where he has gone must be incredibly hard to deal with. But being able to express all this does not mean that you are a useless women under the blue burqa Arifa. Although you say your beauty is covered, you are showing immense beauty through your writing. Your ideals of hope and freedom are not going unheard Arifa. I insist you Arifa to keep writing so that these premises may be heard and I wish the best for you. I hope that the day will come soon when you will be able to sour out of your ‘blue cage’.

    Yours sincerely,


  10. Karen Pomerantz says:

    Dear Arifa,

    Very powerful words. It allows us to feel a bit of what you must feel under cover from yourself and from the world. What a feeling of powerlessness expressed so powerfully.

    Thank you for sharing,


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