Three Poems by Somaia Ramish

12 June, 2024
Her poems direct social issues, particularly issues related to violence against women, underage or forced marriage, poverty and the impact of extremism and war. Her poems engage with socio-political themes and display a strong skill for irony. —Farzana Mari


Somaia Ramish



Poems translated from Persian by Sholeh Wolpé


5 /

5 Somaia Ramish persian org You kill me
to save me from Hell,
or rather,
get yourself to Heaven.

Each day, I die again and again
when my hair rots among your banal thoughts,
when my voice is devoured by your fanaticism,
when my womanly shape makes an infidel of you,
and my hair provokes your God’s wrath.

You who are frightened by beauty,
look how streets of Tehran and Kabul
lead neither into Heaven nor Hell.

From death, we have come back alive.
Woman       Life         Freedom


Woman Life Freedom Somaya Ramish
Woman Life Freedom Somaia Ramish




Somai Ramish_7 persian orgI’m alive,
despite the bullet lodged in my heart.
I escape toward Durand.
The borders do not recognize my aliveness.
I travel to Nimrooz
half ash
half fire

and now
I’m in the vicinity of Khuzestan.

The armed Iranian border patrol
is yet another bullet
and the price of my blood
is as worthless as water that chokes
the Hari river.

I’m alive.
I cross deserts and oceans,
survive barbed wires and
jaws of hungry dogs.

I sit across an immigration officer
who does not look at me,
does not shoot at me.
Instead, he summarizes me
into a seven digit number

Zero  – Five –  Eight – Four  -Two – Two – Two

I run in six directions.
I drop my numbers.

I‘ve never been alive
outside of my homeland.




Somai Ramish 8 persian orgIt is night in every region of the world
and dawn’s blood has dried up in tomorrow’s veins.

I cry in all time zones.
Which one are you in?
You who do not hear our voices?

Free people of the world,
you who have embodied liberty in a statue,
a stone,
a rock that has fallen into a well
and is dying with its own final sound.

After a fall, if you hear a thud,
it’s the sound of death.

Pull back your clocks by a century
so you can swallow the news of the liberty rock
with you bitter coffee and forget
that we, on this side of time,
in this side of the world
have already died in our own timeline.


Somaia Ramish is a poet, journalist and influential voice in the world of literature and human rights activism. She currently also pursues a PhD program in the field of Persian Literature in the prestigious University of Delhi, India. As the founder of Baamdaad, House of Poetry-in- Exile, Somaia Ramish has spearheaded a protest movement against censorship and repression of literary and artistic endeavors in Afghanistan and beyond. This movement serves as a beacon of hope, uniting artists and poets worldwide in solidarity with Afghan artists and poets who face bans on their creative expressions imposed by the Taliban.

Somaia Ramish’s call for poets around the world to stand by her side in this struggle, met with worldwide support that culminated in a collection of over one hundred poems from highly acclaimed poets from around the world in solidarity with her cause. These poems captivate readers with their eloquent and thought-provoking verses that condemn censorship and silencing of Afghan poets’ voices. The collection will soon be published in various languages. Her dedication to documenting the struggles and politics of our time is evident in her latest published work, the voluminous book titled Half a Century of Struggle and Politics in 2022. This comprehensive work delves deep into the complexities of societal issues, offering profound insights and thoughtful analysis of Afghan history and politics. Not limited to her literary pursuits, Somaia Ramish has also made significant contributions to the political landscape. She served as an elected member of Herat’s provincial council, a populous western province in Afghanistan, from 2014 to 2018. During this period, she actively worked representing and advocating for the rights of the people especially women. As a refugee in the Netherlands, she managed to regain her voice. She publishes her opinions in NRC, De Standaard and 360 Magazine.

“WomanAfghan poetryAfghanistanfreedomIran

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