Nadia Anjuman, Afghan woman poet, who was killed by her husband. Tribute to her  

Dear RAWA,

Thomas Fortenberry here, author of the poem "revolutionary" on your website. I was deeply saddened by the recent loss of such a beautiful spirit in Nadia Anjuman, the young Afghan poet. The world, but especially Afghanistan, cannot afford to lose its poetry. This tragedy does, however, bring back into stark focus the ever-present dangers of living while female in a repressive patriarchy, with its characteristic abuses, repressions, and general lack of freedom.

I wrote this poem in her honor and thought I would share it with you. I am, as always, doing everything in my power to help promote equality, freedom, and prosperity for the women of Afghanistan. We should all do our part to keep the songs of Nadia -- her gift of poetry -- alive.

Bless you all, Thomas Fortenberry
Nov.18, 2005


In memory of the Afghan poet Nadia Anjuman

A captured, wild, dark-haired bird,
she restrained the hawk inside
because she liked to kiss
the calloused knuckles of history
falling like rain
upon the rapture
of her upturned face.
Ever the hunter, she chose
her perch, waited, and stared
beyond the immediate
loss, pain, indifference, hatred,
rising like a titan before her
the silhouette of patriarchy
always eclipsed the sun
but never blocked out the full view
of the deepening, cloudless azure sky
or the magnitude of the ever-embracing horizon
which welcomes her return to flight
in the glory of freedom.

[c 2005 Thomas Fortenberry]