A poem by Mohammad Zaki Zaki

When I walk around my city
there are beggars on the street
women asking for money
kids needing clothes
elders hungry for bread
young people wanting jobs
What awful days in Afghanistan

No reason to be optimistic
without work or food
No courage to stay stable
No way to quit the country
I want to flee
How should I be happy

Such a heavy shadow we live under
suffering chaos and mess
a fearful forest to walk through
an unprecedented nightmare
How should I be happy?

Old men and women knock
at my door hungry for bread,
asking for a bit of money
But how can I help them
How can I be happy?

There’s much I want to say, sharing
my agony and fears
glooms and memories
feelings and emotions
exhaustion and grief
My pain is real
How should I be happy?

I never thought this would happen
My country living with such frustration
Afghanistan is like an abyss of suffering
It is just like a ball which
is thrown by the feet of aliens
It is like an ice which is
going to melt every moment

Afghanistan is not a living place
I wish I had never been born in this country
I had never relished the joys of life
I am full of pains and miseries
How should I be happy?

My feelings don’t match my pain
I think emotionally appalling
Everyone is pouring tears in my land
From various ethnics and races
From its peaks and mountains
From its lands and streets
From its canals and lakes
From its alleys and avenues
From the faces of the children
From the eyes of orphans
From the tears of widows
From the groans of mothers
From the prayers of religious
Everyone is in mourning here
Everything is frightening
How can I be happy?

Journalists can’t be calm
Writers can’t be safe
Teachers can’t relax
The future is uncertain
Perhaps a dream
Life continues but nothing changes
Time is wasting but nobody enjoys
Days pass with no goals or hopes
Life seems without purpose
Still I want to go onward
To forget my past
And live for present
How should I be happy?