Traveling to different lands brings one face to face with different aspects of the culture and literature there.

Like it introduced Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy to Landayfolk couplets composed and sung by Pashun women.

This post has excerpts from their article that appears here

A landay is an oral and often anonymous scrap of song created by and for mostly illiterate people: the more than twenty million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Traditionally, landays are sung aloud, often to the beat of a hand drum, which, along with other kinds of music, was banned by the Taliban from 1996 to 2001, and in some places, still is.

A landay has only a few formal properties. Each has twenty-two syllables: nine in the first line, thirteen in the second. The poem ends with the sound “ma” or “na.” Sometimes they rhyme, but more often not.

Content topics range from romance to sex to war and even current politics. Here are a few landays to give you a flavour…

1. I’ll make a tattoo from my lover’s blood
and shame every rose in the green garden


2. Your eyes aren’t eyes. They’re bees.
I can find no cure for their sting
3. Daughter, in America the river isn’t wet.
Young girls learn to fill their jugs on the internet.
4. When sisters sit together, they always praise their brothers.
When brothers sit together, they sell their sisters to others.
5. Be black with gunpowder or blood-red
but don’t come home whole and disgrace my bed.
6. You sold me to an old man, father.
May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.
7. My Nabi was shot down by a drone.
May God destroy your sons, America, you murdered my own.
For more read the full article here.
Contributed by Navin