from In the Garden of Joy


Kọ́lá, our guest translator, explained to the group that this was an unusual poem in the poet’s oeuvre, as it rhymed. Most of Túbọ̀sún Ọládàpọ̀’s work was oral poetry that was spoken and recorded for distribution on LPs, often accompanied by music and singing. In the session, Kọ́lá, played some of this for us so that we understood how much this seemingly formal and contemplative poem deviated in sound and feel when he read it aloud.

We tried to retain elements of rhyme, as it so unusually pronounced in the original, yet we were aware of the danger, in English, that the poem might sound too twee, a little too much like a greetings card. In some sense, the rhyme functioned in an opposing way in the two cultures - making it seem awkwardly traditional in English where, in Yoruba, it sounded formally experimental.

These are the first two stanzas of a four stanza poem.

Edward Doegar, Commissioning Editor