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 Kabul Press, World Media Home


We were millions

Sherko Bekes

 New poems


The day will come

When all the lamps in this world

will rebel

and refuse to light up anymore,

because ever since they have existed

their eyes have been shining

above the heads of thousands of statues

in this world,

but not a single statue

has been erected

for Edison.


The tide said to the fisherman:

There are many reasons

why my waves are in a rage.

The most important is

that I am for the freedom of the fish

and against

the net 


We were millions

we were old trees

newly growing plants

and seeds

From the helmet of Ankara

they came at dawn

they uprooted us

they took us away

far away.

On the way the heads of

many old trees drooped

many new plants died in the cold

many seeds were trampled under foot

lost and forgotten

We grew thin like the summer river

we diminished like flocks of birds

towards the time of autumn

we diminished to mere thousands 

We had seeds

carried back by the wind

they reached the thirsty mountains again

they hid inside rock clefts

the first rain

the second rain

the third rain

they grew again

Now again we are a forest

we are millions

we are seeds 


and old trees

the old helmet died!

And now you the new helmet

why have you put the head of the spear

under your chin?

Can you finish us off

But I know

and you know

as lond as there is a seed

for the rain and the wind

this forest will never end?




Sherko Bekes, son of Faiq Bekes, is one of the most famous Kurdish poets. Sherko was born in 1940 in Sulaymania in Southern Kurdistan. He was educated in Sulaymania and Bagdad and published his first collection of poems there in 1968. His poems reflect his close association with the Kurdish liberation movement which he joined in 1965, working in the movement's radio station - the Voice of Kurdistan. During the period 1984 - 1987, he lived with the Kurdish peshmergas (freedom fighters). Since 1987, Sherko Bekes has lived in Sweden where continues to write. In 1987 he was awarded the Swedish PEN Club's Tucholsky Prize. In the same year he was awarded the freedom of the city of Florence. (Summary from Index on Censorship, by H Sinjari, 1988)






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