Taste

by Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf

If this poem isn't free of flaws or clunkiness,
if it contains disharmony or defects,
if it doesn't illuminate what's hidden
and isn't used to staunch old injuries,
its verses won't nourish, are a withered breast.
Let me recite this with spirit. It's night; it's time.
 
Though he may call you fair names, a ‘lovely mare',
and praise you up onto a pedestal, all-powerful,
and slip soothing words in your ear, sweet to hear,
dazzle your eyes and make desire rear up,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
Though he may place you in a skyscraper
and fill your world with glass
or fashion, or your demands,
arriving at your door with every whim,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
Though he's said to be wealthy, with a portfolio of property,
and is known for his patience and generosity
and like a tribal chief, is spoken of with honour,
and has his Master's degree and letters after his name,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
No matter that he wears his heart on his chest
and shows you the blood's beat in his veins
and prints your name on his skin
and writes love poems like Cilmi, from the edge,
and sings enchanted ancient lyrics full of wisdom,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
Though he takes you on a tour around the world
and wants you by him on the plane,
and shows you fountains and pulsing streams
in places teeming with deer, antelope, peacock,
and lays carpets for you on lush low grass
and takes you to stunning Daallo just after rain
and gives you bowls of camel-milk, wanting your comfort,
wanting to look after you through spring and autumn,
conjuring rainclouds and Yemeni honey,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
Though he might be a holy Dervish, a fighter for God,
a fearless young man who can destroy dark forces,
skilful with guns, never missing his target,
commended for bravery in battle,
who crushes his enemies and tears up their bodies,
if he's not to your taste, he's just a blocked path.
 
You might be treated to a bowl of spiced food,
barbecued meats and meats cooked with fat
steamed to perfection underneath a tight lid,
or a ghee pot with its beautifully crafted case,
but if there's no salt to season, you won't eat with relish.
Taste cannot be won by compulsion.
You cannot go against your own heart. 

The literal translation of this poem was made by Said Jama Hussein

The final translated version of the poem is by Clare Pollard

Comments

  1. November 1st, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Mohamed Omer Maigag says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this meaningful poem of Caasha Lul. If there is no understanding between potential partners hearts as Caasha has put it, the sharing of material possessions will not compensate for the absence of mutual affection.

     

  2. November 1st, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Mohamed Omer Maigag says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this meaningful poem of Caasha Lul. If there is no understanding between potential partners hears as Caasha has put it, he sharing of material possessions  will not compenstate for that.