I went up the twisted stairs

To reach the bright ledges of the minaret,

Looking around for miles

At recessed hills,

Green fields and bubbling rills.

Underneath the cool, marble-slabbed floors,

In hidden pools

And cisterns

A whole subterranean stream


Like the centuries

That have flowed by,

Echoing the quiet lament

Of the waters


When they were tinged blood red

By the massacre of helpless innocents,

Harmless generations

Who quietly tilled the land


Oppression could not be borne,


And death seemed the only

Honourable course.


Note:  The beautiful and scenic old Ilyasi Mosque, at Nawanshehr in NWFP, Pakistan, was the location of a massacre of poor peasants in the 19th century.

About the Poet

Ayesha K Sadozai (AK)Ayesha K Sadozai belongs to an old Afghan family settled in India and Pakistan. She was born and educated in Peshawar city and later, in the USA. She is a college teacher now and writes and publishes her poetry, which has strong historical and philosophical elements.