Hey advice! Recommending prudent future actions are not allowed;
Hey mystery! Cause to increase greatly in quantity and spread out;
Hey daydream! Magic pendants allowed gates to open
Hey castrated male livestock! You have no chance to be unneutered;
Hey male slave! Your content and character ascertain what makes you different from the rest;
Hey sea! And you are running at your full capacity
Your tides and the full extent of your widths,
Did I try to scoop out with a flask?
The breadth and the waves
Did I try to empty out with a cup?
Let me set those five above mentioned verses aside.

A loud cry of a trumpet bellowed in agony
Its penetrating sound cause someone to feel sudden shock,
A large number of people came out and gathered closely together,
Where the storm of the winnowing fan is directed?
Where panic and fear is engulfed?
Who is the man who has hut shelter shed of branches and leaves,
At the Bohollaha Xargaga place?

Bullaale is carrying a message liable to cause death
To stir up unlawful behaviour against Bahdoon
He walked weakly and slowly with a stick made of calotropis procera,
Between the two a wild fig tree was laid in order to make the situation serene and not agitated
He dodged between them and succeeds in avoiding,
No more runaways and nowhere else to escape
They found each other at a large open area of flat land with few trees,
From the top to the bottom
The arrows are aiming to shoot the target
And the oryx is seeing it all,
Where to seek a place of safety?
Is it possible to feel safe, stable and free from fear?
The calamity has wonders of its own
It blows the distress out of all proportions
Man supposed to heed the warnings swell with pride,
Say those above said five verses as something customary!

Hey society! You have the honour and the respect;
The man who says: ‘You have no freedom to choose alternatives’
We say: ‘You know nothing about this society’,
Folks, you don’t allow yourselves unguarded and don’t give up in the face of lacking hope!
He deserves neither courteous recognition nor formal expression of goodwill.

The man who made a promise to you
Failed to do the responsibility that you handed him over
Turned down all your aims and aspirations
Robbed you while you are indigent
Scoffed at you and treated you with contemptuous disregard and destroyed your way of life,
While you were unable to reach a point of satisfaction with things
The man nevertheless who made more profitable upselling for comfort,
Covered himself with thick fur of the lion
Worn scarf and gauze with magnetic attraction
Jumped so high up into the sky
Tried to show his prejudiced belief in superiority,
The mountain he climbed can’t keep him for a limitless time
He is destined to die and no body can hold back to a later date
His lower leg and thigh are broken.

And those five above mentioned verses been wrath over the labour pain that turned out contrary to one’s wishes,
Say that it’s an occurrence kept on record.

Hey society! You crowned me
You put down for yourselves mats and spread carpets on my liver
You covered yourselves with the sides of my body
You use my heart as your pillow
You are the ones, who open my lips,
The character of your activities
The appearance of your problems
To the extent that it gave a mature reflection,
When one misappropriates you in a dishonest and fraudulent manner
When you cry for help
With a feeling of intense longing I start reciting poems
The senses awaken and become active.

Hey society! You crowned me
You granted me a good fortune
You bestowed me possessing an extraordinary ability to attract
If I’m a man who has motivation, determination and self-possession in the face of many pressures
It’s because of you that this astounding piece of good luck has befallen me,
You gave a message of being purposeful and the quality of having a definite purpose
It’s you, who compelled me to fight,
If ruin and calamity didn’t happen
If the general interest of yours and common well-being was not destroyed
If home and the surrounding environment of yours was not burned and reduced to ashes,
If the justice system was not discarded
The importance of education lessened and belittled
And changed into empty populist revolutionary phrases,
Would we able to know each other?

If the ram with big rumps
And the lamp and the young sheep is not slaughtered for him,
If the man who have stolen your valuables and belongings
Not been paid extra bonuses to the awful things he has done,
If indigent is not superficially been made greater in number
If only hundred people is not put on top,
The good quality agricultural land
If not faced hardships and challenges
Plants with big leaves and the fallen leaves as well were brought to an end,
If the people who were in the state of being prosperous
Had not become destitute without the basic necessities of life
The prosperity changed into pauper,
If the people taken turns for receiving the food grain aid
Not eaten with water in the absence of ghee,
If the man who lived with severe poverty
Would not say: ‘We feel very content and not wish far more!’
He has to lie in order to save his life,
Would we able to know each other?

If every dawn breaks you wake up
Not given you a multiple disgrace and wrath,
If you were not promised the good news
That you will be better off tomorrow than you are today
And the eventual outcome of the experiment has ended in disaster,
If like Baarcadde
Baloolley and Badowyalley
Would not have a calming effect on yourself after the pain and the explosion of anger you got,
If clannish loyalty had not raised and promoted to a more important level
Dusted and brought out for use again,
If your kinship and consanguinity
And your strong unity
Would not be dismantled and disconnected with cudgel and force,
If your homes were not pillaged by using violence,
If patients were not rejected and failed to show affection
If their illnesses were not neglected,
Would we able to know each other?

If the young people were not killed
The dagger did not vomit blood in an uncontrolled stream,
If the man who was supposed to properly place the dead people in the graves
Was himself hunted down by various large diurnal birds of prey and hung him up in the air,
If your hero and saviour
Would not have descended by beasts and wild animals and made a sudden attack on him,
If your bir-ma-geydo (specific group of people protected by the Somali oral customary law and which prohibits to use any practice of inflicting severe pain or great physical suffering on elderly people, women, children, religious scholars, clan leaders, and the vulnerable people, etc.)
Not being shot with huge streams of gun bullets
And the hyenas didn’t consume the dead corpses as a nutritious food,
If the man who was supposed to manifest sorrow and wail in grief for the dead people
Would not overturn the whole affair into a friendly and enjoyable event,
And take it as a protection against evil,
If the few people remained in the country
Would not violently cracked down and imposed on them an authoritarian rule
Faced more pain and cowardly attacks
With a man holding a belt whipping and causing you an uproar,
Would we able to know each other?

Because of mistreatment and drying out with heat
If the parching earth would not become too dry to support vegetation,
If like a disgustingly dirty and unpleasant place
One wouldn’t believe his own eyes seeing Benadir (Mogadishu and its vicinity) and wouldn’t filled with horror,
At the dawn if people not emigrated by the thousands
And not exhausted from walking in the overhead sun following one after the other
Obstacles arise that would keep the kinship and the close connection marked by community of interests apart,
Yearn to possess and crave for the petrodollar of Arabia,
Girls used to wear the Boqorand Dhacle clothing
And were known as the calico dress
If not captured and taken into custody in Bahrain,
If the kings, princes and sultans of Arabia
Dressed with feather headdresses
Not begged them a thousand times for help,
Would we able to know each other?

If the East didn’t desert treacherously and make us lack a sense of security
If the West didn’t spread and transmit infectious diseases,
The number of refugees fleeing to the neighbouring countries, territories and nationalities surrounding us
If it wouldn’t exceed and become greater in number
Like the crow with white feathers in its wings,
Our missing people scattered throughout the world
Live and gather out of doors places,
If the unending wounded and injured people of ours
The world would not say to us:‘Enough is enough!’
Would we able to know each other?

Mogadishu, 1980

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Comments (4)


This poem have touch home for me. Like Mustaf I am crying because it is truth ,  ” scattered across the globe;if it was not said to our wounded and our injured, ‘You deserve it!’
would I be so at one with you?  I have seen many people within my community say , if something happen in somali their deserve it.

Mustafa Awad

Incredible! This literally made me cry - especially the final verse…I was having a conversation today with a friend that pretty much borders on Hadraawi’s words.

Jamie Dedes

This has to be one of the most powerful and honest poems I have yet to read. Thank you! I am humbled.


Hadraawi is our Shakespeare! Thanks for these awesome translaitons

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