Ghani Khan

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Abdul Ghani Khan (1914-1996) is widely considered as one of the best Pashto language poets of the 20th century.


  • na may sta da nari shudi dy pakar
    na da zulfi wal pa wal laka khamar
    na da bati pashan danga ghari ghwaram
    nargasay stargy na daki da khumar
    na ghakhuna dy laluna da adan
    na nangy dak sara sara laka anar
    na pasti da sarindy pa shan khabari
    na wajood laka da saar way mazadar
    khu bas yow shai rata ra ukhaya dilbara
    da lala pashan zargy ghawaram daghdar
    yow dawa ukhaqi chi da ghum ao muhabat way
    lakuno laluna dy karam zaar
    • Translation: I do not need your red sculpted lips,
      Nor hair in loops like a serpent’s coils,
      Nor a nape as graceful as a swan’s,
      Nor narcissus eyes full of drunkenness,
      Nor teeth as perfect as pearls of heaven,
      Nor cheeks ruddy and full as pomegranates,
      Nor a voice mellifluous as a sarinda,
      Nor a figure as elegant as a poplar,
      But show me just this one thing, my love,
      I seek a heart stained like a poppy flower –

      Pearls by millions I would gladly cede,
      For the sake of tears borne of love and grief.

    • Entreaty (1929)
  • Manhood stands tall and high, and becomes madness;
    The self takes leave of being and becomes ecstasy.
    When iron sated with blood embraces love,
    It turns into a bewildered sitar string.
    When time robs man of love and the loved one,
    He sees the beloved’s glory and his own.
    How man sprouts when he sits down in dust!
    • When Man Sits Down in Dust, l. 1-7
  • Death, go somewhere, get lost! I’m not done as yet –
    Joy still flows from the amphora of colors into my cupped hands.
    • Reverie, st. 9
  • But death blinds you, unaware of man’s fall –
    An autumn that steals the flower from the flower peddler.

    Death is testimony of god’s love and mercy for man –
    A promise made between autumn and spring.

    • Death, st. 3-4
  • What is man’s life but love, love of self;
    Man is dust, dust as his passion, dust as the beloved.

    Death, it is your great act of piety for man –
    You take him to your house or he’d be left to himself.

    Death is a covenant between the lover and the beloved;
    Death is a secret wedlock between being and non-being.

    Death harbors the hidden port of life’s ocean;
    Death is helpless and a vision of beauty to itself.

    Death is the only witness of my life and your grace,
    And O strange lord, of night and the crescent.

    • Death, st. 8-12


  • I want to see my people educated and enlightened. A people with a vision and a strong sense of justice who can carve out a future for themselves, in harmony with nature.
  • Pashtun is not merely a race but, in fact, a state of mind; there is a Pashtun lying inside every man, who at times wakes up and overpowers him.
  • The Pashtun, are rain sown wheat-they all came up on the same day they are all the same!.... But the chief reason why I love him is because he will wash his face and oil his beard and perfume his locks and put on his best pair of clothes when he goes out to fight and die.

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