Woman’s Life Landay|NaPoWriMo Day 19

Why must a woman’s life be so hard?
Because she bears the future in her soul, body, heart.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/20/15
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And for today’s prompt (optional, as always!), I’d like to challenge you to write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy. Check out this long investigative article on landays for a fascinating look into a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down. You could try to write a single landay – a hard-hitting couplet that shares some secret (or unspoken) truth, or you could try to write a poem that strings multiple landays together like stanzas (maybe something akin to a syllabic ghazal?)

I read the article linked in the prompt and learned that most landays are written with nine syllables in the first line and thirteen syllables in the second. These are usually not written down anywhere because women aren’t allowed to write poetry in Afghanistan, but are composed to be easily remembered and shared with others. These come from a long oral tradition dating back thousands of years. Some that they quote are quite heartbreaking. I hope I have captured the spirit of the landay because I really find it inspiring. Elaine

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