Saturday, 3 December 2016

Mother - Hadraawi

The world certainly
Would never have left night
Light not been found
People not have trekked
To a star over the Hawd*
Would not have flown
Like birds of prey
To the moon in the clouds
Not have sent rockets
That appear like waves in the sky
Nor reached into space
Oh Mother, you've guided
The servants of God
To where they are today
With numbers I cannot
Calculate or count
The number of great people
You carried on your back
That you suckled
That you nourished
From your breast

When you bear a man
With support of his kin
Whose camels men fear to raid
A steadfast hero
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

When you bear a generous man
Who says 'Please, take this.'
Who when a visitor
Arrives with nothing
Gives of his wealth
Coming closer to God
A man people wish
Would never die
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

When you bear a man
Who in his intention
Follows a straight path
When he meets one wave
Then deals with the next
Who guides his dependents
Whom all wish to emulate
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

When you bear a man who stands
Against disaster and war
Who understands the law
Deliberates on the truth
Dampens conflict and danger
When it's set alight
Who prevents bloodshed
Gives order to the people
Leads them all
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

When you bear a famous poet
Who knows the construction and decoration
The composition and the tuneful chant
Tightly forming the words of poetry
Which God has given as a gift
The artist who shapes all this
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

Women are desired in life
The ones sought after
Like a forest of fresh leaves
Men are hungry, and what
They set their eyes on
Are those young women of yours
When marriage is discussed
It is a girl, a tall heego cloud
Like ripe fruit, rich
In strength, maturity and beauty,
It's Hira, that one marries
Mother, you are commemorated for it.

Oh Mother, without you
Language would not be learnt
Oh Mother, without you
Speech would be impossible
There is no one in the world
You did not bring up
To whom you haven't sung,
Haven't calmed with lullabies,
Not one who lacked you efforts
In reaching maturity
That compassion has not covered
In the house of love.
Oh Mother, through you
Peace is made certain
Oh Mother, on your lap
The child falls to sleep
Oh Mother, by your hem
Shelter is found
Oh Mother, the infants
Benefit from your teaching
You gladden the camel calf
You, the rain cloud that cools
You, the essential sleeping mat
You, the clean shelter
You, a heritage all journey towards.

Mother, while you live
I anoint you with congratulations
Greetings and wealth
I cover you with respect and esteem
Mother, your death
Is my disaster
In both body and mind
I hold your memory
I sing still for you
Above your grave
I wear the mourning cloth
Knowing that better than here
Where the birds fly
The animals roam
Where all creation lives
By the gift of God
Better than all this
Is the hereafter

Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame (Hadraawi) (born 1943) Somalia
Translated by Martin Orwin
* Hawd -  a major grazing area in eastern Ethiopia inhabited by Somalis
Source: City Lore

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