A Tribute to the Sun


“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

From A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Babi, speaking in the words of Saib-e-Tabrizi (172)

★ ★ 

This quote appears in A Thousand Splendid Suns two times; the first being when Laila’s father recites it as they are preparing to leave Kabul, and second as Laila looks back upon the way Mariam’s presence in her life has affected her. The first time we Khaled Hosseini incorporates this quote into the story, it describes Kabul’s insurmountable beauty in the eyes of those who look upon it. Babi does share this with Laila as it is a piece of beautiful literature Kabul brings, but it is not quite this simple. When you analyze Saib-e-Tabrizi’s poem in full, there is two lines of his writing which stands out in significance and hints to another reason for Babi’s love for it. It goes as such,


“The dust of Kabul’s blowing soil smarts lightly in my eyes,

But I love her, for knowledge and love both come from her dust.”


During the novel, the characters are facing the conflict within their country. The beauty that was so incredibly prominent about their former Kabul is now hidden by the war, or in relation to Saib-e-Tabrizi’s poem, the dust. The dust which has arisen from the strife has clouded the vision of those who look upon Kabul, and in result, changed both the perception of Kabul by its citizens and those around the world. However, the quote’s second line signifies that while this dust has changed the perception of Kabul, it cannot change anyone’s love for it. Babi confirms they are not leaving due to hatred for their country but due to the fact they are no longer safe in the place they love.

Babi is clearly torn apart by the fact they must leave. To him, it almost feels as though it is a betrayal – he is leaving the country in the middle of war, abandoning the land he calls home in its moment of unrest. By sharing the poem with Laila, Babi is not only reminding himself of the love for his city, but reminding his daughter to never forget as well. This is the strength of the knowledge Kabul’s literature delivers, and the love Kabul’s beauty gives to citizens; it will continue to follow them in their hearts wherever they may go. 

The second time the quote arises is when Laila is moving back to Kabul with Tariq and the children. It is not as a direct quote; instead, Laila takes the significance of it and relates it to the love she shared with Mariam. Mariam has recently been executed and is no longer in Laila’s life, but Laila claims the love and inspiration Mariam gave her will continue to shine. This is further exemplified by Laila’s work at the orphanage, and how Mariam’s love continues to spread from person to person even after her death. It was Mariam’s sacrifice which allowed Laila and her family to have a second chance at life, and they do not take it for granted.

I had a hard time choosing a quote for this assignment, as none I would come across struck a chord with me. It was only when I remembered how Laila connected the two lines of Saib-e-Tabrizi’s poem to her own life, that I realized I connected to it as well. However, my connection to it began as very surface level. It took awhile for me to understand how the sun and moon relate to my situation, and I will explore my final findings later in my emulation. 

I remembered how my father lost his own dad at the age of 15, and how the experience of this loss changed the way my dad looked at the world. I always see it in his eyes when he complains about family members taking their parents for granted, or when my grandmother calls to say she is in trouble with something again. I have learned my father is afraid of things changing out of his control and have seen with my own eyes the pain the idea of death brings to him. 

The passing of my grandfather at such a young age is heartbreaking. Its affects on my father’s life today may also seem heartbreaking, but I can see how it has taught him to love. There is not a day where he takes the people who is important to him for granted, and it is because of this, I have learned to do so as well. 

I do not know much about my grandfather, and I fear I will never truly know. All I do know is the memories of his existence will forever be within the hearts of his children. I have sensed it, and I have felt it. The remaining light of his love shines in their actions and how they take care of their children, or how they express care for their nieces and nephews. Everything the death of their father has taught them has changed the way they love us. 

My emulation begins here, in the form of a (sort of) elegy. I dive into the relation of the sun and moon imagery from the quote to my life, as well as how my grandfather’s love is shared with me through my father; much similar to Mariam’s love which is passed down to others by Laila. 


For You:

You are the sun,

but death has taken your light.


Memories of love remain at a distance,

but your memories

have been swallowed by the night.


Your ability to love will forever be ceased,

but fear not,

as the love has not disappeared but rather

been released.  


While the darkness consumed the moon

at the death of his sun,

it did not dare take away his shine…


For the moon learned what it is to love

by loving you. 



He continues to shine his love,

as you and I look upon him.


I sit from the walls,

gazing up at the moon,

and you peek from the horizon. 


Although I cannot see you, I can feel you,

for the light of the moon reminds me so.


One could not measure this light

which shines onto me from the moon,

or the thousand moments of love


our sun,

has given.


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4 thoughts on “A Tribute to the Sun

  1. Dearest Elissa,

    Your poem is absolutely gorgeous!! It’s definitely one of the best things you’ve ever written and that says a lot because you’re a brilliant writer overall. I love the lyricism of your poem and the beautiful way your elegy flowed. The connections from your analysis to your personal life weaved in perfectly and I could really sense the gratitude and love you have for your family. This line in particular stood out to me, ” The dust which has arisen from the strife has clouded the vision of those who look upon Kabul, and in result, changed both the perception of Kabul by its citizens and those around the world.”

    My only suggestions for improvement would be to change affects in: “Its affects on my father’s life today…”, to effects, haha. I also think it would be cool if you tied in the symbol of dust from your analysis and see if you can include that in your emulation – but that’s just an idea 🙂 .

    Amazing job, my talented bes fren ^-^



    1. Dear Liza,

      OH MY GOSH. Thank you so much for telling me about my error! I distinctly remember writing effects, but then I looked at it quizzically for a second and I… I changed it 🙁 I will remember to double check next time.

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed my emulation. I was really worried about getting it right and making it meaningful, so I’m glad I hit the mark. Thank you for the suggestion as well! I will definitely go over my writing and see how I could tie in the dust… You’re right! That is a very good idea.

      Thank you again, bes fren >.<


  2. ELISSA:

    DUDE, I FELT THAT. Wow! I really appreciate your presentation and blog post. I feel some weird connection towards it, even though your life is far different from mine.

    Through this presentation I feel like I’ve grown closer to you just by knowing these important details. I finally understand that YOUR source of light is immortal. Through your father, you are able to shine the way you do. You have touched so many people’s lives by just existing. You spread happiness like Nutella on toast.

    I am so proud that you’ve been able to articulate the mean and matter portion of the analysis. I knew you had it in you! Your emulation is just more evidence to the fact that you know exactly what you’re talking about, loll!

    I found your presentation and analysis of this quotation to be one of the most profound. Your personal story works perfectly in relation to this quotation. Your emulation is so well written. The imagery works perfectly with the symbolism and the overall matter of the poem. Thank you for sharing <3.

    Love you forever,
    mia 🙂

    1. Dearest Mia,

      It has been many many months but I would still like to thank you for this comment. It brought me such joy to read it the first time and it still evokes the same happiness now. You are a highlight of my life, Mia. I am so glad that I am able to give provide you with a little inspiration as you do me. Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to comment on my blog post with such kind words.

      Much love,

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