Whittled Words – Landay Poem



Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




The Landay is a variable length form based off a couplet, which means the poem could be as concise as two lines or run on for several pages. The form most likely originated with nomads in the area of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Here are the basic rules of the Landay:

  • Poem comprised of self-contained couplets–as few as one couplet will do
  • 9 syllables in the first line; 13 syllables in the second line
  • Landays tend to reveal harsh truths using wit
  • Themes include love, grief, homeland, war, and separation


Note: There is not a specific rhyme pattern for this form, though lines tend to end on the sounds of ‘na’ and ‘ma’ in the original Pashto. However, this is difficult to replicate in English. Keep in mind that Landays are often sung.



Examples of Landay Poems:




by Taylor Graham


This house, our island in an unknown
sea that tides against a father’s walls and foundations.

How did we come here, this brave new world
on the other side of veils and headscarves, barred windows?

I spend my days in my father’s books,
the volumes he brought from our old, unreachable lives.

Through my window come street voices,
car horns and barking dogs, someone quietly chanting.

I hear the call of the muezzin
so mournful at dawn and nightfall I can’t understand.



By Tracy Davidson

another day, another battle
she nurses her war wounds while he begs for forgiveness

she’ll wave the white flag of surrender
again tonight, but he won’t stop until exhausted

they dance the same dance, night after night,
as his darkness descends and sobriety deserts



By S E Graham

Promise me love, when I lay with you
And I’ll henna your name on my heart with blood from yours

My father will happily sell me
Honour means nothing to him and no price is too great

The night sky sheds tears like stars dying
knows that my life is no longer my own, but now yours

The future is bleak but is better
than the past by far my sweet, so don’t fret, keep me close

Make me believe that my life with you
Will be one to cherish, one to love, and to adore



By Brad Osborne

As a boy I dreamed of flying cars

The promise of every science fiction film I saw

Every man a driver and pilot

Skies filled with hurried commuters mixed with soccer moms

Where home driveways double as runways

And where the potholes, traffic, and roadkill are gone for good

But alas now in these autumn years

No sight of cars swarming the clear, blue, and empty sky

The dreams of youth I must leave behind

Forced to settle for a car that drives itself instead




I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Landay poem. Thanks for reading!




28 Responses to “Whittled Words – Landay Poem”
  1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Very interesting and challenging style. I like it’s history too… Thank you Brad for the knowledge

  2. Brad, those are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. Only if I can write like this.

  3. WildHeart says:

    I dared and here’s my attempt at a Landay Poem


    The deep blue sky that once brought me peace,
    Now crushes me down to a million broken pieces. 

    Startgazing used to be my solace,
    Now brings me pain like a dagger stabbed right through my chest. 

    Bright summer sun I dearly adored,
    Does nothing more than burn my heart to dark grey ashes.

    Floating clouds that I once used to chase,
    Haunts me like the memories of what we used to be. 

    Oh dear Sky, where did we go so wrong? 
    Every moment without you is a torturous curse! 

    Moral: Don’t fall in love with a guy named Sky! 😬

  4. petespringerauthor says:

    As someone who played with his share of cars as a child and fantasized about them flying, I appreciated your piece. I love the line, “Skies filled with hurried commuters mixed with soccer moms.”

  5. Jim Borden says:

    great poem, but I wouldn’t give up yet on your dream of flying cars…

  6. kristianw84 says:

    Thank you for doing this series. I learn so much!! 🙏

  7. I love this. You’ve got a nice blog, and I’m glad to follow you. 🤗

    It’s an honor to be here 🙇 . I hope I can make good friends with you💐

  8. Amazing post dear!
    Love this. I really appreciate your work. Continue posting such great things.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] [Landay poem]See outside your small world openlyFor the truth’s beauty is not on how you choose to see […]

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