Eyes Brimming with Beauty
Ballaadhane is the name of a spring
That flows into the small lake of Hawd
A place that's to be found to the west of Burco
A journey or two from Bancawl
From where you first travel east
Before turning your face to the west.
Barni is the name of a girl
The length of her time on earth
Is more than a decade -
Add seven more years
And a handful of months.
Beloved, she has beautiful ankles
Is graceful and charming.
After a peaceful night
Just before dawn
The sheep began to stir
Baaing to their lambs to wake them up.
Barni alone heard their calls
Because she woke with the dawn
Eager to be the first to say Allah's name
Before the sun had started to rise.
She pulled on her shift
That sits next to her skin
Then dressed in her boqor
Absorbed with her work
At the height of noon
Barni can be found
Down in the valley
This is the place where the frogs can be heard
Croaking and calling loudly to each other
Where birds tweet and chirrup all day
A place that is lush with plentiful rain.
Late in the morning the sheep and goats
Were splayed out on the grass
Completely exhausted from stuffing themselves
Cows were mooing contentedly
Horses stretched their legs
As they shook their manes and tails
Free of burrs and bristles.
The young camel herders arrive at a run
Flushed with youth and vigour
Their powerful thighs mean they can leap
As high as a lion pouncing on its prey
All around is good pasture and fresh green shoots
Baby camels sleep on soft grass
Using each other as pillows
The tufts on their humps
Swaying softly in the breeze
When the little ones bray
Their mothers come to kneel down next to them
They nuzzle them and stretch out their necks
Murmuring with a soothing sound
The male camels also stand guard
Scanning the distance
Relieved of their duties
All have gained in stature and weight
And grown big and strong
They roll together in the sand
And chew their food into cud
Transfixed by all these heavenly scenes
Barni felt she was brimming with beauty.
The literal translation of this poem was made by Maxamed Xasan 'Alto'
The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2014