Two Poems by Abdulla Pashew

From Dictionary of Midnight (Trans. Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse)

January 8, 2020  By Abdulla Pashew

If you wish
your children’s pillows
to bloom pinks,
if you wish to surround cradles
in silky dreams white as snow,
if you wish their swaddling clothes
made of rainbows and
that they might play doll with
the heart of the messiah,
if you wish
your vineyards full of fruit,
if you wish the sun to drink
from the floods of your joy,
if you wish the heavy clouds
to send messages of green to your fields
and to raise the drowsy eyelids of springs,
then liberate—
the bird that nests
on my tongue.



Before I knew you,
I was self-centered, a child.
I thought
the wide sky was a tent
set up just for me,
the Earth was an island the floods left behind
to be inhabited by no one but me.

All of a sudden your love arrived
and devastated my citadel, its walls,
altered all colors
and upended all laws.
It turned the vast world into a cage
for my solitude.
It taught me to be content
with half the pillow.



From Dictionary of Midnight. Used with permission of the publisher, Deep Vellum. Copyright © by Abdulla Pashew. Translation copyright © by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse.

Abdulla Pashew
Abdulla Pashew
The prominent Kurdish poet and writer Abdulla Pashew is widely regarded as the most popular living Kurdish poet. Pashew's first poem was published in 1963 and his first collection in 1967. Since then he's published seven more collections, including his two-volume Collected Poems: Baraw Zardapar (Towards Twilight) and Hespim Hewrew Rikefim Chiya (My Horse is a Cloud, My Stirrup a Mountain). Pashew has also translated the works of Walt Whitman and Alexander Pushkin into Kurdish. He has lived in Finland since 1995.

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