Harmony

by Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf

When the spring rains come the livestock give birth
Each lush new leaf stays plump
The fresh green grass is luscious and rich
Everyone gorges on water, drinking their fill
While the fresh rain falls evenly all around
 
With each step your footprints sink into the ground
And the soaked soil sucks at your heels
Birds sing their own songs all at once
And then the frog starts to join them
 
Brightly-patterned butterflies flit around new blossoms
Their beating wings like vivid flags flapping back and forth
As they drink in the aromatic breeze like water
Inviting everyone to come along and join them
 
Flowers seem to have been etched with henna
And they all spring upwards at once
After the heavy rain that fell the night before
Their ripe fruit glows deep red and nut-brown
Berries and fruit hang thickly from the shrubs
All tightly packed together
Many different fruits now ripen all at once
No throat they slip down would ever protest
No eyes that see them could complain
All this goodness can never be restrained
 
This magnificent sight
Is beyond human comprehension
It's beyond the power of human description
More fragrant than the most precious incense
I can only compare this perfume to sandalwood
 
In these four verses I tell of a perfect environment
Once my country was famous for its loveliness
Its soil is gold beyond price
A sanctuary, it's a place of peace and safety
Tonight I celebrate my country
And may it be healed by justice!
 
 Under a clear sky with no hint of haze
Not a cloud to be seen, nor any mist
Not even the colours of a rainbow
Like the clarity of the first light after dawn
Or when the full moon hangs heavy in the sky

The best young people are chosen for the dance
Their songs and choruses echo harmoniously
While Cureeji and Caalin join in with delight
The skilful young men are alive with excitement
The graceful divas respond with their chorus
As the circle of dancers leaps with joy
When the climax comes the sun rises up
Bringing the party to a perfect end

The girls whose names are Canab and Cambaro
Have purified the churn with charcoal and clean cloths
Ready to be filled with milk for the children
Skilful mistresses of the churning of buttermilk
Their churns are full to the brim with ghee
 
All the people welcome each other with open arms
Families and villages live together in peace
People are generous and receive gifts with delight
There is no enmity, no one fears for their safety
Village elders and religious scholars are leading the way
So the community lives together in peace and fulfilment

In these four verses I tell of a perfect environment
Once my country was famous for its loveliness
Its soil is gold beyond price
A true sanctuary, it's a place of peace and safety
Tonight I celebrate my country
And may it be healed by justice!
 
In the evening everyone walks home side by side
Bearing news from the neighbouring communities
Children spread palm leaves and prayer mats on the ground
A spacious place with neither discomfort or tension
Where people talk together honestly and openly
Where they have neither fears nor worries
 
The people are devout in their worship of Allah
They recite the Koran throughout the day
Allah has granted them honour and prestige
When I look at them I am full of admiration and love
May Allah never remove their prosperity and peace!

The literal translation of this poem was made by The Poetry Translation Workshop and Maxamed Xasan 'Alto'

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire

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