They began chanting with both feet,
wandering lands, marking by song
where they have been. That became theirs
wherever they could not stay,
because nobody owned the earth
until buried beneath it. Maps
and traded things for other things,
until they decided to gather
into a book that recorded
their songs — such was this belief
in certainty, forcing malleable
ink stains to solidify, strokes
taming nature to immutability.
Then they closed the book. They said,
“Nothing more may now be added;
there is already enough that we do not
understand.” So began footnotes, parsing
whose place in a sentence could alter
shamen becoming scribes becoming scholars,
folding into leaves of the sacred
their lives and interpretations of life.
to mean whatever was needed.
By now each had lost the knack
of remembering without a text,
so when the book in their hands
the desert incinerated, they were lost.
The Peshawar-based musical duo Ismail and Junaid, recently unveiled the video of their new song Pakhwa. The lyrics of the song are based on the poetry of the famous Pashtun poet Ameer Hamza Khan Shinwari.