Editor’s note: This poem was written during a workshop with our Kabul writers. The work was supported in part by the Fetzer Institute. More poems and stories on love and forgiveness will be published in coming weeks.

The triad holds us —
Life, love, forgiveness,
This everything of life’s river.
We begin at home,
with family, with forgiveness there.
For without it,
there is no friendship
there. Forgiveness nurtures
the home, need never be disputed.
I am a Muslim woman.
I do not incite problems.
I love. I forgive.
It begins in my home — friendship
within my family, with my community,
with the world.
I wish patience for myself,
for my community,
for this world.
We cannot live
without love.

By the Kabul writers
Fowzia, Marjan, Mnzhgh, Sadaf & Zuhal

UN Photo / Eric Kanalstein; graphic by Blatman Design


  1. “It begins in the home” – some of the most hopeful essays I’ve read lately are about bravery, love, leadership in the home. How we treat one another, how we support one another, how we stand up for our rights, for the rights of our family members–these just acts radiate outwards, and the community cannot help but be affected. Thank you for these good words here in this poem. Inspriring~


  2. I am struck by the title of this poem and how it alters the reading. The rhythm is wonderful.

  3. Thank you for writing this! Wonderful work!

  4. Scott Beal says:

    I love the quiet but insistent determination of the lines:

    I am a Muslim woman.
    I do not incite problems.

    And I appreciate how patience becomes a precondition for love in the last lines.

  5. Suzanne Scarfone says:

    6th Grade Student, Detroit
    I wish you all the rights in the world,
    I wish you all the stars of the world,
    I wish you were not judged by gender,
    I wish you were free to flow like a river,
    I wish you safety in the world,
    I wish you joyful tears, not sad ones,
    I wish you could sleep the pain away,
    I wish you could love who you wanted,
    I wish you all the life in the world.

  6. Renee Schipp says:

    Inspiring, thank you

  7. “we cannot live without love” and love will never live without you, such a touching poem with such heart touching words, thank you

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