I Am a Leaf

My life is like the fall…
I am like a dry leaf
in the way of life,
always tying myself to a tree,
trying not to fall down under the heavy feet of people.

I suffer all kinds of weather: wind, rain, burning sun.
I am grateful when
I don’t fall to the ground, into
the roadside dust,
lose my life
and all my hard work on the tree branch.

Every year the same,
the strong winds don’t let me live.
I try to remain on my branch,
and I still fall.

But every year begins with a world of hope
because I am growing up!
Maybe this year I will not fall and
get stepped on,
maybe no deluge will take my life.

When I grow up, will I suffer the same squashed fate?
Is it worse to be stepped on when you are grown?
I wish for fall not to come again,
let spring stay forever,
erase the memory of fall from my mind
as if there were no winds whipping me off my tree
so as not to ever give up.

I will grow up and keep my hopes
that life will not bring failure,
and when I reach my goal
I hope to help my oppressed people.

Zahra A.

Photo by Stephen Dziewczynki


  1. Gabrielle says:

    This is a beautiful poem that merges reality with the hope and strength to persevere. The words flow so effortlessly and it read as a song. I look forward to reading more from Zahra, she is very talented.

  2. Angela says:

    I really like this poem, it speaks to hardship but also hope. And shows that you are questioning your very existence, which I think we all struggle with. nice work.

  3. Gloria says:

    I have a good view of the fall leave outside of my window as I read this poem. It is windy today,yet I notice that many of the leaves remain attached to the branch. Your poem made me think about the strength it takes to be an open-minded woman in your culture (and in mine). Know that spring will come to norish that tree even after all of the leaves fall. You poem is filled with regret, desire to move beyond the circumstances in which you find yourself.
    I also see hope. Women must gather the leaves together. I send you good thoughts.

  4. Alexis says:

    This is so beautiful and poignant! Zahra, I wish you all the best as you live, and write, and strive to be of service to your people.

  5. I like this. It’s beautiful and elegant. I like the imagery. But I do not get the sense that you are “like a dry leaf.” I get the sense that you are young, strong, and hopeful. Please keep writing. I would like to hear more from you.

  6. Kimberly says:

    Dear Zahra,

    While I understand this poem speaks to your pain, it is also a lovely interpretation of rebirth. Spring does come every year. I am impressed with your affirmation to remain strong and hopeful and I believe you will succeed!

  7. this a great poem with a very strong message. Good job

  8. Dear Zahra: You do a wonderful job sharing your emotion and experience in this poem. I will always remember “the heavy feet of people.” I read this poem and I know that you are strong, with a beautiful mind and a big heart. And with those gifts, you can stay green and on the tree! :) I’m so glad that you are writing and sharing all of this with us.

  9. Zahra,

    Wonderful poem about hope and the struggles of your life. Continue to hope, to live, write and dream! With enough leaves you and those around you, together can be the tree and never been in fear of being trampled.

  10. Dear Zahra,

    You have power in your words! Yes, a beautiful leaf will certainly fall from a tree during this season, yet another, then another, and another will continue to come each spring and leave each fall. There lies the beauty of your tree – your life that is renewable for many, many years as it gives the hope and promise of more dreams to be fulfilled.

  11. hope & renewal beautifully stated

  12. Zahra, your imagery here is beautiful and moving. Thank you for your words, which matter so much to the world! I will be sharing this poem with some of my college students, many of whom also feel like those leaves.

  13. Zahra, from all the way accross the world, may you cling tight to the tree and if you must let go, may warm and loving winds set you free from the dust of the road. Stay strong and keep up the amazing writing.

  14. Amber Clifford says:

    I thought this poem was incredibly beautiful. It reminded me of a character in Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam. She lived a difficult life from the time she was a child to the end of her life. She weathered all sorts of circumstances with grace, and without complaint. She was repeatedly stepped on but remained hope. She even took the ending of her life wit has much grace as possible. You have written a beautiful poem and I enjoyed it.

  15. Kathryn April Tunis says:

    Zahra, What powerful words. Never give up, keep moving forward, and life will change. I hope you reach your goal. Also you’ve already helped your people, just by writing this poem. Thank you for showing what it is like there in your own words. I wish you luck and keep writing and inspiring others. -Katie T.

  16. Zahra, you have a real gift for expressing your feelings and reality through poetry. It is exhausting to be continually hanging on tightly, sometimes you need to release a bit and build up strengh to continue. Thank you for sharing through your poem.

  17. Zahra- I read your first few lines, and immediatly felt your strength and determination to overcome whatever feelings of being overwhelmed and powerless.
    Take strength from your words and what you can do with them, they will lead you down the right road every time. Thank you for this lovely piece.

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