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2005 - Saloni M presents The Shades of Love


Tosn Reshid

Twelve years ago Tosn Reshid arrived with his family from Armenia, which is now part of the Soviet Union. He is an acclaimed author of eight books, comprising four books of poetry, two of short stories, one of essays and one of plays. As well as in Armenia, three books have been published in Sweden, two in Germany and one is soon to be published in Turkey. Currently, none of his work has been translated in English, but hopefully this will be rectified in the near future.

He has a PhD in Chemistry. In Armenia he worked, for over forty years, as a Scientist, Journalist and Writer. As a Journalist, he specialised in the area of Kurdish culture and literature. With his wife, Nure Gaware, who has a PhD in Ethno-Musicology, he has collected over 10,000 Kurdish folksongs.

Although he has lived in Australia for 12 years, it is only in the last seven years that his status has become 'permanent'. Before then, he had no status whatsoever, so was not permitted to work or receive unemployment benefits.

For the Saloni M swims East event in 2003, he presented:

Three poems Her Son Was Killed, Peshmerga's letter and Untitled, which he read in Kurdish, accompanied by Angela Costi, who read English translations. (The translations involved some editing by Angela Costi.)




Her Son Was Killed

Mother made her both hands
like sticks (for a drum)
her chest like a drum
she hits and hits with her fists

scratching the black blood
into her face
the tracks of heavy ploughs

beautiful and proud head
becomes lowered
headscarf slides down
falls on shoulders


black eyes
full with energy and fire
have gone deep inside
becoming an infertile cow’s breast
dry and thin

her son was killed
and mother screamed like a wolf
became a bear for gorges
she lost her faith
turned up her face to the sky
screamed and wept.


The following is an extract of Tosn's long poem
based on a Freedom Fighter's letter to his lover.

Peshmerga's letter


My love!
Wipe the tears from your eyes
Spread your beauty and pride
So the barrels of guns
Directed at your chest
Are curved
And the enemy's hands and fingers
Shake on triggers of machineguns

My love!
Grief struck mothers
Put us to sleep
With songs of war and heroism
They fed us
With cries, tears, groans
With words from childhood fairytales
The words of murder, torture and prison
We are dominated


My love!
So that our children
Decorate their passports
By a word Kurdistan
So that our country
Shrunk on the map
Opens her wings like a mountain eagle
And paints her four pieces
In one colour
So that you tie your head
With a pink headscarf
That your laughter be heard
Everywhere in the world
We will paint with our blood
Like that of sacrificial lambs
The foreheads of our mountains.


The following poem is born out of
Tosn's experience as a Kurd
and having to leave his country.


It is hot, there is no wind

Sun, out of spite

Stops in the centre of the sky

It doesn’t move

The air becomes a steam of sweat


Do you know what hope is?

And do you know how sometimes

It disappears for people

People become lost

Pull out their hair

Tear their clothes

They hit their heads with stones

Just to make something ‘a hope’ for themselves.

© Tosn Reshid 2003.

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