Valley of Happiness, Mountain of Joy
What grows in the valley of Baba Sahib?
Wild flowers of many colors
A mountain stream rushes by where
children can play all day long.
I love the big sky above Baba Sahib
looking over my home of Kandahar.
Can you hear the voices and laughter of families?
“Win a goal, pass it here!”
Their shouting is soon replaced by cheers,
the laughter of girls who sometimes scold
and the words of caution from mothers.
From men come the murmurs of card games played
with the occasional cheating.
“You owe me a Pepsi,” someone says.
Do scents follow you?
The scent of bolani as it bubbles in oil
Watch out for it spattering as you cook.
Or is your nose in a rose
One that is purple or pink?
The earthy smells that cover my brothers
mix with the fresh mountain air
over my home in Kandahar.
How do I feel on top of this mountain?
Free and fresh with no problems to face.
In Baba Sahib, I’m free from homework
and the dusty air on my way to school.
No burqa is needed.
I feel proud of my family
to allow me this freedom.
I know I am free to have my rights
that all girls should have.
It makes my family happy
to see their friends
and be happy and laugh
I learn from the environment
to take care of the earth
while I fill my lungs with the freshest air
over my home in Kandahar.
By Shahida, age 14
Photo by Phil Borges.
Dear Shahida: I would like everyone who has only heard of Kandahar from war news to read your poem, and to delight in the happiness your home gives you. I felt your joy as I read. I loved hearing the sounds, and smelling the scents, and getting the feel of being there, as you shared it. Keep up the beautiful work! Stacy
Oh, Shahida, Your wonderful poem made my heart so full. There is so much here in the words and between the words. Your spirit and your great capacity to see positive in the world shines through.
Our world needs your writing, Shahida. Please wirte many more poems for all of us….Kathy
What a beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing your love of Kandahar with me. I have a map of Afghanistan and made sure I was right (I THOUGHT I knew where Kandahar is in your country) I was correct but the map could not show me how beautiful the land there is like you did. It is so important for us to learn from each other. I learned from you that there is more to your province than just the war and conflict we have heard about.
Thank you for painting a lovely picture for me with your words,
This poem made me laugh and smile. My brother used to say “You owe me a coke,” just like your poems says “’You owe me a Pepsi,’ someone says.” I also love the way you feel freedom and are so grateful for it and proud of your family. What a gem of a poem!!