the Landays of Afghan Women

Is there not one man here brave enough to see, how my untouched thighs burn the trousers off me?

In Afghan culture, poetry is revered, particularly the high literary forms that derive from Persian or Arabic. But the poem above is a folk couplet — a landay — 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.

Beautiful and provocative, even in translation.

For God’s sake, I’ll give you a kiss. Stop shaking my pitcher and wetting my dress!