Partaw Naderi

The Adventure of ”Beauty” Poem

22.04.2011 - 10:53

It was the winter of 2004 and I in my Apartment in 3rd Macroryan, suddenly my mobile rang as I looked there was a long number appearing on the screen of my set. I got homesick; my first intention was it might be the owner of the house asking me to leave his apartment in the summers. Housing is a major problem in Afghanistan and I know it as an experience. I remember and writing:

Someday on a street in Khairkhana I was carrying my bags on a four wheel towards a house which I newly rented. Through the way I took my pen and wrote down:

All I had

                Was a small knapsack

                Which I carried from one house to another

One day I lost it

In one of the old city streets


Kabul, 1981


Drawing migrate has always been a major calamity for me. However I have had lesser  bright days in my life. But drawing migrate has always been highlighted as black days and hopelessness for me. I still do not know why I am here! Maybe I want to suicide and celebrate the fragment with number of my country mates.This is a famous Afghan proverb “death with friends is like a festival”.

The mobile rang for second, third and fourth times, each moment I was taken to inner obsession. It looked there is someone with a request. I took my mobile and answered. Unlike my intention on the other site of the line was a lady, a sweet and heartening voice who spoke Persian in a unique accent. She introduced herself as “Choman” and has contacted me from London. I was more excited of what this sweet voice will be asking for!

When assured its Partaw Naderi. Said, I have contacted you from the Poetry Translation Center (PTC), London University, SOAS. These sentences made me even more excited. She said they are planning to translate the poems of the poets from Asia, Africa and Latin America to English. I was also in the list of poets that their poems need to be translated. These sentences were giving me hope and energy. To that date my fewer poems were translated to English, as of “Large Picture, Small Mirror” which was translated by Afghan respected writer and university lecturer Doctor Wali Ahmadi and was printed in Naqd-Wa-Arman quarterly magazine in US. In addition few of my other poems were also translated by respected scholar Doctor Sharif Fayez  (Former Afghan Minister of Higher Education).

Choman said, send your poems they will be translated and you might also be invited to London, but she insisted that sending my poems does not mean that I most likely will be invited to London, however from all those Afghan poets whose poems were translated a single will be invited to London.  Then I found at least ten other poets have also submitted their poems for translation.

It was a pleasant contact with me. My poems would be translated and I would be invited to London to recite my poems in the literature festival.

As my friends know it has almost been two decades that I have been writing blank verses. It is worth mentioning that there has never been a move towards blank verse while it has happened naturally.

Poems come into sight of my mind then I recite and write them down. Everyone has their own method. As far it’s concerned with me, poems come into sight of my mind then I write them down with my own understandings. With the start of the poem I do not know where I will be taken and where it will be finished. Then someplace the poem ends and I become head flux from a sweet pleasure and indescribable.

I sent my poems. Months passed there was neither a message nor the sweet voice of “Choman”.  Someday I received an email from Sara Maguire and it was one of those surprising messages. Maguire is the chairman of the center for poem translation. Yet she is a well know poet, one of her poetry collection is “Kandahar Pomegranate”.

She wrote, after few days of effort your poems have been translated in the Poetry Translation Center (PTC), if you are agreed we will invite you to London! This trip was pleasant for me in two directions. First I will again have the chance to go to London, the city to which I went in 1999 via the invitation of BBC. I was in London for two months and came back, as I still remember the voice of individuals who were asking me to not miss this golden chance and not return back to Afghanistan, but I returned back! More importantly my participation was at a wide literature program in several cities of London. Lastly I was selected among all the other poets to go to London on October 2005 for one month through the center of poem translation and I went. I really do not want to say that I am better among all other remaining poets who sent their poems to the center of translation, I am not! Maybe it was the selection of poems that opened the door of success for me. The poems which I sent to the center of translation were all blank verses excluding one or two.  High, medium and short poems. Poems taken from my personal experience, poems far from abstract picturing. Poems that can easily be translated.

Twelve pieces of my poems were translated. Then all these poems were printed as small book with the translation and the original language. Among those poems, the poem “beauty” is also included. Beauty is in black verse.


Your voice is like a girl

From the farthest green village

Whose tall and graceful frame

Is known to the pine trees on the mountains

Your voice is like a girl

Who, at dusk,

Will bathe in the clear springs of heaven

Beneath the parasol of the moon

Who, at dawn,

Bears home a jar of pure light

Who will drink sip by sip

From the river of the sun


Your voice is like a girl

From the farthest green village

Who wears an anklet

Forged from the songs of a brook

Who wears an earring

Spun from the whispering rain

Who wears a necklace

Woven from the silk of a waterfall


All of which grace the garden of the sun

With their many-coloured blossoms of love —

And you

Are as beautiful as your voice


This particular poem was written in 1373 which is according to the summer of 1994 in the Kabul city. For the first time this poem was published in my poetry collection called “Large Picture Small Mirror” ( Taswir –e- Buzurg < Aaiena-e- Kochak) in Peshawar Pakistan. It was printed again in my collection of “Leaden Moments of Execution” for the reason of adding a small sentence.

In the year 2005 “The Bloody Mouth Of Freedom “another collection of mine was printed out in Iran by “Urfan “publications. This collection was in fact selected from my previous poems excluding few new ones. The poem “beauty” was also among them.

In addition other Afghan writers and researchers as of Ustad Latif Nazemi well-known Afghan Scholar and Ostad Saied Alem Labeeb Kabul University Lecturer have given their comments regarding this particular poem.  The comment of Ustad Labeeb has been published in “Chawosh” magazine in Peshawar Pakistan. To date this poem has been published in different foreign Afghani websites and the print Medias inside and outside Afghanistan.

When I created this poem I wanted to write on the forehead of it “presented to Farida Osman Anwari”. When young I was listening to the program called (Zamzama Haie Shabhangam) and listening to her voice, a world of poetry imagination would emerge in my mind. On that time Farida Osman Anwari would recite poem in a unique method. She with her beautiful recitation had worthy share in nurturing my poetry imaginary.  I didn’t write on the forehead of the poem, I was afraid she would mind it! Or maybe she will be faced with problem. Now I want to gift this poem to her.

While I was presenting my poems together with Sara Maguire at the Literary festival on October 2005 in the different cities of Britain including London city the poem “beauty” was warmly welcomed by the audience.

It was very interesting for me that on July 2009 a lady named “Miss Karen Wynne” wrote a very courteous message from the address SOLA ARTS to permit her for presenting the poem “beauty” as a role play by a group of exiled artists in Liverpool. She said the name of the poet will also be mentioned, in addition the original text of the poem will be read by an Afghan immigrant.

I was in the United States for International Writing Program (IWP) in Iowa State; I was the witness that my poem “Lucky men” was presented as role play at an Iowa University. The original text was presented by my own self; the poem was warmly welcomed by the audience. I replied to Miss Karen expressing my interest with happiness and permitted her to present my poem.

It was amazing for me when I received a message from a lady named “Adele Spiers” the message was very much non polite or I can say rude. Apparently the name of the person who was supposed to present my poem in the theater was “Samiullah Nawzadi”. I do not know how this lady smelled her palms and founded out that this poem does not belong to me it belongs to Samiullah Nawzadi. Although Samiullah Nawzadi said such to her, but it’s surprising how this artist lady accepted the outrageous and fame seeking claim of Mr. Nawzadi. The most interesting claim of Mr. Nawzadi is that he has actually written the poem and I have translated!

Mr. Nawzadi actually wants to put his feet for this first in the world of literature by stealing my poem, he didn’t say in which language he has written this poem? When he has written? In which literature program he has recited the poem? Has there ever been someone saying the poem belonging to Nawzadi? How many people have recited the poem mentioning his name?

If Mr. Nawzadi has learnt English from the blessings of being a refugee in London and has written the poem in English, then why he is not showing the original text only insisting on the translation? If this person is from Afghanistan then in which official language of the country he has written the poem? Where it has been published that I have had access to and translated. I do not know how old is Mr. Nawzadi, but I know the poem “beauty” Is now sixteen years old. It really is amazing for me that why Mr. Nawzai kept silence during this long life of the poem which was published in publications, magazines, and websites and broadcasted in radios! Can Mr. Nawzadi prove his position in the circles of Afghanistan Literature and how many people know him as poet? Where are his other poems published? How many other poems he has recited in the likes of “beauty”? I was more surprised since I have not heard such name being a poet!

There is a famous story, once SAADI “famous Afghan Poet” was crossing a market, suddenly he saw a man reciting his poems incorrectly with loud voice. Saadi said why you recite the poem with such mistakes! Don’t you know these poems belong to Saadi! Man said go away! I am myself Saadi and know how to recite my poems! This does not belong to you. Saadi said, I have seen poem thief and now I see thief poet.

The most interesting point is that when Mr. Nawzadi has seen the poem in the website of the translation center, he suddenly has trembled from being surprised that how his poem has been published under the name of Partaw Naderi. My friend if you have little shame then you should tremble from shamelessness not only today but forever.

The most brazen sentences of Ms. Adele Spiers were that she ordered me like a commander to talk to organizers of poem translation center website for solving their mistakes and to write Mr. Nawzadi’s name at the end of the poem and remove my name! How generous lady! We thought only in Afghanistan people cannot identify talents, but I am worried it’s the same in London too, Why this lady is not appointed as the chairwomen of the court that no right is violated. Or maybe this position is less significant for her. Hope the Britain government appoints her as the chairwomen of the International Court to eliminate the roots of the right violation! I do not know how this lady “Adele Spiers” has given the right to herself for writing such brazen sentences to me! And to give such order! The interesting point is that the lady also sent a message to Sara Maguire to resolve their fault and to write in the website of the center for translation the poem belongs to Samiullah Nawzadi, not Partaw Naderi! How a grateful lawyer! But she does not know that she is making fun of herself! I want to tell this lady she does not know anything about the history and culture of Afghanistan as well as its contemporary literature. If you knew then you would have little indecision. You think that I am a Nawzadi who has eaten pizza for few days in London and when my stomach is full afterwards I have stood for having fame and wanted to name someone else’s poem to my own.  You have read blind!

I am Partaw Naderi, I recite poem from the university day. Till date I have received literature awards from well known and trusted cultural institutions of Afghanistan. Parts of my considerable poems have been translated in English, French, German, Norwegian, Dutch, Arabic and English. I have participated in essential cultural seminars and conferences in Persian speaking regions and also in European countries. I have recited poems and had speeches. I was the first chairperson of the Pen Organization and participated in 69th congress of the Pen Organization in Mexico City.

I am currently one of the well known poets in modern Afghan poetry; it has been more than 35 years that I write. I have published two poem books. Besides I have written and published fifteen research regarding literature, literary review and socio-political issues. Tens of research topics regarding literature, literary review and introduction of literary personalities have been written by me. I have close cooperation with Afghani websites. Today the individuals who follow the contemporary Afghan poetry know the creation of my poetry, if at the end of my poems including “beauty” they do not witness my name then they can recognize it from its method and picturing.

This is ridiculous that I will be in need of someone else’s poem that does not have any identity in Afghanistan’s literature and culture and this type of need can be demanded by an ill person.

There might be fewer days that I will not write few pages. Miss Spiers did you know me that you decided to write such impolite sentences to me! And you ordered the center for translation to remove my name from this particular poem! You are a civil person and have grown in a democratic culture! Still you have not learnt how to solve a cultural issue. How many of other Nawzadi’s poem you have read? From where you founded out and trusted that the poem does not belong to me it belongs to Samiullah Nawzadi? I hope you have not performed this particular poem as role player under the name of Nawzadi in that theater! If so then it becomes my right to contact the legal authorities of London and ask for lawsuit!

I will send this writing to different Afghani websites to western countries in Persian and Pashto languages to help me identify Mr. Nawzadi!

If alive I will again come to London this year, and will try to visit that poem thief of London resident Mr. Samiullah Nawzadi. It will be very nice that you Ms “Adele Spiers” stand side by side as his advocate!

Kabul City

Feb 2011

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