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Poetry Magnum Opus

Day 6 The Horsemen


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The Horsemen 

Clouds of dirt and dust spit rocks,
    churned by pounding hooves
    thundering across the dry, open plain.

Buzkashi is back!

Teams of 10 men, whips held
      in strong teeth, mounted      
      on butter fed, endurance trained
      horses, powerful and swift
      battle for sometimes days upon the field.
      These are the Chapandaz!
The prize, the carcass of a calf or goat,
    beheaded, weighted with sand 
    wrestled horseback from player to player
    to be carried around a flag and thrown 
    into the Circle of Justice. 

Man and horse, bodies bumped, whipped, kicked
     and charged, game lasting up to 10 days.
     Brutal, primitive play.
     The National Sport of Afghanistan!

What could we expect? 
                                   ~~Judi Van Gorder

Note:  The Taliban just reinstated the game after a decade long ban and then a decade long pause by war.  Games were held in Kabul in March 2022.  I first read about the games in a novel in the 70s before Russia's invasion.  Having read the book, I felt the Russians didn't have a chance against these people. Ferocious, primitive and enduring.  So when we invaded decades later, I had a similar feeling.   I prayed we would quickly find the terrorist camps, destroy them and get out.  My love of horses drew me to the games, I cringe at its brutality and unavoidable injury to these noble animals and yet the game fascinates me and I see it as the character of the Afghani.  It is a defining element of their culture which needs to be honored. 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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