A poem by Mohammad Zaki Zaki

I wish for wings to fly through the sweet clarity of spring
For a cozy nest that warms and protects me
For feathers that comfort and save me from danger
I wish for a sharp beak to ward off enemies

I’d like to be a sharp-eyed eagle
Or an intriguing peafowl
Perhaps if I were a predatory lion
I could live proudly and confidently

I wish for a wise guide to show me the ways

My wishes are ordinary like yours
For peace and calm
To be tranquil
Let me breathe in deeply to smell fresh scents

Today there is no fresh weather to breathe
I can’t find clean air to inhale
My dreams seem impossible

No clean water to drink
No honesty to believe
No humanity to behave
No justice to feel
No facts to confirm
No truth to accept
Nobody to meet
And no comrades for connections

My hopes are typical
To be my own person
To be free and optimistic
To be far from malice

I want to be intrepid
I want to believe in what’s to come
I want to fly
And to sacrifice for freedom

This is what I want — liberty!

I need to be free
To love myself
To cherish my life
As I care for my parents and siblings

To reach liberty!

So I can value my hometown
Love my birthplace
To grow up freshly

I want to raise my voice
To call for justice
And work reliably
To sleep peacefully
To dream fearlessly

Like all of you, I simply want to find freedom
To escape ignorance
To ignore others’ defects
To share our opinions
To bury the corruption
To celebrate the best moments

Instead my morning alarm is the sound of a bomb
Leaving me hopeless
War and its violence filling me with deep distress
The constant screams of poverty make me deaf

My yearning for liberty is mainstream

I dream of freedom and what it will bring
The value of life as I make my own
Inside freedom I can change things
Pass my time momentously
Break all obstacles that block my way

I want to be free
I yearn for liberty

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart