On the 8th October 2016 I met Choman Hardi. She was reading her poetry at the Winchester Poetry Festival. Then I felt my skin prick and my breath stop.
She was born in Iraqi Kurdistan. Her family fled to Iran, returning to Iraq when she was 5 years old, only to flee again when the Kurds were attacked with chemical weapons. She is a poet of distinction writing about war, women, political and personal trauma.
This is verse 1, 4 and 5 from her poem from ‘Life for us’ published by Bloodaxe Books, 2004
Everything was destroyed by others
and we destroyed what they left behind –
I killed your noon, you killed my night.
I can’t remember what others took
but I remember your stealing my eyes
and hiding them in a tin full of darkness.
Because everyone was others I forgot
but because you were me I could not.