Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mountain Roadman - Hindu Kush, Afghanistan

Here is a poem from my book on Afghanistan about a mountain roadman. I met this man at about 3,800 metres in the Hindu Kush mountains building a high mountain road with an old and worn shovel. It moved me greatly. Bob

Buskashi, the game of mountain men. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Mountain Roadman

Flesh against wood and metal
His mettle against mountains of rock
Now broken in body and spirit
He who carved these roads aloft

His face was as worn as his shovel
Building roads in the Hindu Kush
And his ageing back bent double
From all the boulders he'd pushed

His reward but a sear of flour a day
Received humbly in callused hands
As he prays, "Allah O Akbar"
His reward can't be in this land

Anjouman, Badakhshan, June 1995

It is published in my book, Mountains of our Mind - Afghanistan, published by tara press, New Delhi. The book can be purchased through the website www.indiaresearchpress