Oh you girls, weary of silence and the night,
Can we, in this dark land, believe
In the false moon that hangs beyond the window?
Or read poems by the faint light
Of this despairing star?
As if I were already dead,
The words do not believe my voice.
As if I were already dead, my voice
No longer fills these stone cups of silence.
I am still alive!
Though the world has, time after time,
Rejected the cry of my throat,
My voice is still sore from centuries of screaming.
My presence is not a false shadow!
By Mariam Meetra
Translated by Margaret May
from Sylvia Geist’s and the author’s own German translations,
with thanks to Hameed Hakimi for advice on the original Dari version
Read The German Riveter in its entirety here.
Find the books from The German Riveter on the Goethe-Institut page.
Mariam Meetra was born in Baghlan, Afghanistan, and now lives in Berlin. She studied journalism and PR in Kabul. She is a writer and campaigner for women’s rights and is a member of the PEN Centre Afghanistan.
Margaret May studied German and French at Oxford, spending most of her career as a nonfiction academic editor. She later gained the CIOL Diploma in Translation and a research degree in German literature, and has since begun working as a literary translator.