My Wild Imagination


Editor’s note: This poem was written for the International Day of the Girl, October 11, 2013.

I am one of those women with a wild imagination.
I imagine being free of harsh claws gripping my thoughts,
making me feel helpless and clueless.
I envision expressing myself
as free as a nobleman.
I do not mean curses and insults.
I mean free to speak up and make decisions.
I appeal for respect and love.

I am one of those women with a wild imagination.
I want to hold the stars, to be successful, accomplished.
But the distance seems a challenge.
How can I hold the stars with my small hand?
Maybe I need something to offer to be privileged
To embrace the stars.
Perhaps, a bigger hand—one full of gold
or money, but I don’t have those,
So I take refuge in patience,
and trust my beads of sweat—my efforts,
my diamonds.

I am one of those women with a wild imagination,
who yearns to see equality of Afghan men and women
in action and law. I want lovers to walk
in the streets of Kabul, Herat, Mazar,
holding hands, sharing hugs, in all cities
Free of harassment and harsh looks aimed at them like bullets.
I want women to drive cars, taxies, and buses—
I long to see Afghan women working with confidence, with strength.

I am one of those women with a wild imagination.
I want to see women running in the park,
unburdened by worries that someone may judge them,
women running for health, for leadership,
for president, women swimming, enjoying and changing society.

If I speak my wishes, my dreams,
I see smirks, deep cracks on their faces
Like valleys of darkness that pull me down,
as I stand on the edge
looking down at men and women whose cruel inner clowns
mock a woman’s struggle.

But I am a woman with a wild imagination,
puppets and clowns won’t steal my will
because my imagination is full of peace.
It is not wilder than the world in which it exists
It is wild because it is tired of being tamed.

By Mahnaz


  1. Your poem is making my heart burst with happiness, pride, and hope. I want to tweet and print up and paste your poem everywhere. I love your wild imagination, Mahnaz. Your strength and bravery in the face of the “puppets and clowns” and those with “claws” who wish to tear your thoughts in dreams in two is deeply beautiful–and again, proud-making. Thank your for sharing this wonderful poem with us. Stacy

  2. Rebecca Biggio says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Mahnaz!

  3. Nancy Antle says:

    This is an incredible poem — in the crafting and the wording. Your voice is powerful — so determined — and your dreams (your wild imagination!) so vivid, I could see clearly the world you hope to inhabit one day. I will read this poem over again and again. It gives me hope and demonstrates very clearly that women in Afghanistan cannot be silenced. Beautiful work!

  4. Madelaine Dickie says:

    Mahnaz, this is wonderful poem. I hope we can see the Afghanistan you dream of. Please keep writing, there are some fantastic lines in here, I especially love the line about ‘cruel inner clowns.’

  5. Cath Ralston says:

    This is a wonderful poem of hope. The women in the Afghan Women’s Writing Project are brilliant shining stars and intellects. On a personal level your words help me understand the beauty of your country and the struggles you face. They also inspire my parenting of my teenage daughter, helping her understand the privilege she has growing up in Australia and encouraging her to engage her wild imagination with peace and love.

  6. Please know that there are women all over the world who share your wish, whose hearts break at the plight of women in your country. Don’t give up! Never mind a fistful of gold; an open hand can hold the whole sky! May you experience the freedom and joy of running, laughing, swimming, playing, and making your unique contribution to this world.

  7. Joelle Biele says:

    This is such a powerful poem, Mahnaz. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  8. Words of a warrior princess …

    What we speak about becomes the house we live in.
    — Hafiz

  9. Cassandra says:

    Mahnaz, a wild imagination! What a beautiful phrase! Your poem is emotional and beautifully crafted, it has an incredible intensity. We all hope your imagination becomes your reality

  10. peter markus says:

    Dear Mahnaz,

    I am, I want, I imagine. What powerful verbs to go along with such a powerful pronoun. This is a beautiful poem. It makes me think of the poems of one of my favorite poets, Nazim Hikmet. Here is a link to one of his greatest poems:

    Keep writing and reaching into your imagination.


  11. Heather Gee says:

    This piece is wonderfully written. To have that imagination and hope for the ability to not be judged or criticized when doing something is great. It speaks a lot about what different women feel and what they wish to be able to do. This piece really grabs you, well done.

  12. Elisabeth Lehr says:

    Another wonderful expression of women’s rights from you, Mahnaz. Thank you for your words and thoughts. You are a wonderful model for the ideas you express.

    Much Love,

  13. Tamira Davis says:

    This poem is beautiful! Reading it made me reflect upon my own life and think about how
    I take for granted the things you want to do and are not able to. These are a part of your “wild imagination” and they should be a part of your reality. I will keep you in my prayers and I honestly believe that one day you will get what you want. Don’t give up hope and thank you for expressing your thoughts and dreams in this lovely poem and sharing it with the world!

  14. A woman with wild imagination!

    What a wonderful stanza. The tittle is wonderful too. This stanza reminds me of …
    Keep writing dear Mahnaz.

  15. Jennifer Mayfield says:

    Dear Mahnaz,
    I had the honor of reading your poem the other night at AWWP’s reading in New York City! Several people came up to me after telling me how much they loved your poem. Luckily, I printed extra copies before I left home because some asked if they could get a copy so they could know your name and read your poem again!

    When I first read “My Wild Imagination,” it made me think of my grandmother who was born in a really rural, mountainous, and traditional part of the USA (the Appalachian Mountains). She was always my hero because she refused to let her gender, the place of her birth, or the role that society assigned her dictate her path in life. She always taught me to imagine and dream big and then work, fight, do whatever to get closer to those dreams. I think you two must be kindred spirits (she also loved poetry). I knew right away that “My Wild Imagination” was the right one for me to read at the event this week. I also enjoyed hearing “Stamped as a Girl” and plan to spend the afternoon today reading your other work on AWWP’s website. Your passion really comes through clearly in your writing, you are so talented!

    Your writing is so powerful, it gives me goosebumps, a lump in my throat, and sometimes brings tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your work through AWWP! Please keep writing and sharing. the whole world needs to hear from you!

    Jennifer Mayfield


  1. […] won’t steal my will/because my imagination is full of peace.” – from “My Wild Imagination” by […]

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