Landay Poem: Let Girls Be


The Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan use poetry to portray a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love. A landay is a poetry form which has 22 syllables: 9 in the first line, 13 in the second. Sometimes they rhyme, but more often not. To read more about this poetic form and the significance it holds visit

Inspired by landay poetry and how it is used to convey important truths, I wrote one about child marriage. Marrying off a child before age 18 is a violation of human rights and more often it is girls who are affected to a greater degree. As a woman, it is my duty to join the global movement to end child marriage so that our girls can have the opportunity to be just girls, not brides.


At twelve you married me to an old man.
The sexual violence stenches out my body as a garbage can.

©Gloria D. Gonsalves

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