Poetry in Motion: Love, war and politics on trucks

I have always tried to capture the art of the trucks going through Kabul’s dusty roads, but it escaped me (photographing from inside an SUV stinks if you are not an artist).  The pathetic photos are mine.  The landays in this story are a dichotomy:  some are easy to understand, others are way beyond the pale:

I’ve attached my heart, the bomb, to your eyes, the remote control
Please wink once for martyring me

Trucks painted in vivid colours and lettered with poems like the one above, which has borrowed the terms of war to describe love, are part of the cultural landscape along the dusty roads of Afghanistan, especially the south and east. The verses are read by passers-by, discussed in homes and shops, and often resonate within the hearts of the Afghan people. They reflect the thinking and perceptions of usually illiterate and largely tribal people, mainly Pashtuns. Themes range from tribal honour, politics and religion to war, love and homesickness. Borhan Osman has gathered a large collection of these verses on wheels during his road trips. For this dispatch, he translated a selection and provides some background on Afghan folk poetry. He has also provided some of his snapshots for the photo slideshow in the middle of this dispatch (to see the translation of the verses, go to full screen mode by clicking on the four-arrow-symbol, then click show info)
Kabul June 2012 004Kabul 06 25 2012 013More Kabul & jewelry 004

About Barbara Dillon Hillas

Mother of global nomads; wife of diplomat; peripatetic lawyer; annotator of foreign service life, rule of law, culture, travel, & whatever strikes my fancy.
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2 Responses to Poetry in Motion: Love, war and politics on trucks

  1. Sweet (I think! I remember boys in the family pulling a kitty’s tail, and it wasn’t nice.)

  2. TonyBates says:

    Dear Barbara,
    Thanks, on a related note, I LOVE SUMMER~~!!!…..
    While watering our orchard today, I saw a bird grab a bug in mid air …It was like poetry in motion!….It was way cooler than any firework display I saw……What was your 1st today~4th of July~?
    Keep up the good work
    Get into issues you shouldn’t, like pull the kitties tail
    If the kitty squeals and gives a variety of hisses
    Mommy yells at that naughty kitty
    And you smile and collect the kisses

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