Shoulder to Shoulder

by Alamin Mazrui

The cold from Mount Kenya has come
The wind blows, cutting through the forests of Nyandarua
But I am a woman from the Krinyaga Mountains
                 I don't feel the cold
                 I don't feel anything
       exept from the sound of the earth
                                    our country
                                    softly weeping

At home...
                 flour waits to be ground
                 vegetables wait to be peeled
                 wood waits to be chopped
                 and the children
                                 the many children
                                               also wait for us

But like my husband I continue
                 to fight for my country
                 to regain my humanity

Sleep my child sleep
                             sleep well while you wait for me
When the moon rises
                             I will return, I'll protect and defend you
                  Above the mountain
                  the full moon gazes down on us
                  in sympathy
The road is too long
Time is too short
                  But like my husband I continue
                  shoulder to shoulder
                  to liberate humanity

The literal translation of this poem was made by Katriina Ranne

The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Notes

It turns out that the title in Swahili is very close to 'Shoulder to Shoulder' which, of course in English, has connotations of solidarity, which goes to the heart of the ideas this poem is trying to articulate.

Comments

  1. June 12th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Erastus Hinga says:

    This is a masterpiece