Jhilmil Breckenridge


At dawn the muezzin calls the faithful

While naan makers knead dough

And women rush through their mornings

And men and children still dream

The faithful pray

In gleaming mosques of green and white

Genuflecting

In scenic, scented courtyards

And delivery boys hurl

Newspapers through laden pomegranate trees

Sleepy children rub their dreams away

Mothers helping them to smell a new day

As people line up to collect water

Naans are sold in yesterdays news

To men on cycles who stop and chat

While the sun rises over just another Kabul morning

And soldiers with Kalashnikovs patrol

Smoking, German Shepherds in tow

While the muezzin leads the faithful

Praying for deliverance and peace

And far away, the sound of a bomb

Nearby, a baby’s wails

A woman in an old rose chador sweeps

Billowing dust following a roaring tuck

And as the children don school uniforms

And mothers kiss upturned foreheads

The undulating seven o’clock siren sounds

And fathers return with the naans

Animated faces discuss the day

Over breakfast: naan and unsweetened tea

Families here like anywhere in the world

Congregating over a simple repast

And children leave for school

Women sweep, cook and clean

Men trade spices and cloth

While depraved soldiers attack and brutalise

The muezzin prays for peace

And people loiter at naan shops

The sun rises higher

Over just another morning in Kabul


Jhilmil Breckenridge

Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer, and activist. Currently, she is a PhD researcher in Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). Jhilmil is the Founder of Bhor, a charity in New Delhi, which works in the field of mental health advocacy and using poetry as therapy. She is deeply passionate about issues of women, disability, and mental health. She tweets at @jhilmilspirit.

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