About the poet
Choman Hardi is the seventh and youngest child of Kurdish poet Ahmed Hardi. She was born in...
1. Delivering a message
I was asleep in the middle of a pad
when he started writing on the ﬁrst page.
The tip of his pen pressed down
forcing pale words into the pages below.
He wrote many versions that night
some very lengthy, others brief.
When my turn came he paused,
palmed his temples, squeezed his eyes,
made himself a calming tea.
She received me early one morning
in a rush, leaving her ﬂat.
She ripped the envelope. Then, gradually,
her steps slowed down,
her ﬁngers tightened around me.
2. Not delivering a message
All my life I waited for words –
a poem, a letter, a mathematical puzzle.
On March 16th 1988
thousands of us were taken on board –
you can't imagine our anticipation.
When they threw us out from high above
we were confused, lost in blankness.
All those clean white pages
parachuting into town....
Puzzled faces looked up
expecting a message, but we were blank.
Two hours later they dropped the real thing.
We had been testing the wind direction.
Thousands of people were gassed that day.
from Life for Us (Bloodaxe, 2004), © Choman Hardi 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher.
Choman Hardi Reading from Her Poems