The Mark

For a while I haven’t alliterated from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.
I’ve neglected all those meaningful old poems,
even those I used to recite so beautifully.
Yet, being a Somali, my feelings are aroused now,
I am filling up with anger and loss.
Something inside me urges: stop this silence, speak up.
My poems encourage the anti-colonials,
but, alas, the hopeless are at the helm of power.
I thought they wouldn’t heed my words, so why write them?
I saw them beating their drums for the worthless,
lower than animals, and thought: why worry?
They cause their own pain; so why bother?
If a person so cheaply won, brainwashed
and remotely controlled is all that is left, what’s the point?
Some are decorated with the highest titles and ranks
but feeding the flames of hatred is all that they do.
I wouldn’t choose this, but duty compels me
to seek out and recover our long lost dear ones,
to replace this backwardness with something lasting,
to find the long uprooted gathering tree,
and keep remembering heroes buried in the earth,
and those who have lost their lives in shipwrecks,
and the reckless refugees riding the wild seas.
A person made to taste bitterness,
wounded by his brothers, barely recovers.
A great fire is sparked in the forests of my country
and the plan is for it to stay ablaze.
Men have paid a lot of money to ensure it burns unabated.
This is an account of dangers, their devastating effects,
the use of tanks and armoured cars for destruction,
mines scattered all over the land,
howling guns ordered to come from all sides –
all to the disgrace of those who don’t care
the least for their people.
You leaders would live peacefully if you knew your duty,
but you seem to have chosen a path to your undoing.
You keep promoting war instead of shunning it,
your elders are bent on fanning enmity and hatred,
the upcoming generation is the biggest victim,
the aspirations of youth are the first things slain,
women and children always under threat of gunfire,
like falling rain, it showers down over them,
yet you defend those behind this machination.
You absolve them from villainous deeds,
which means you acquiesce in these miserable affairs.
You have registered your name in history’s blackest pages.
The irony is that by birth and race these are your brothers
in flaming fire, rising tide, roaring wind.
Couldn’t you end this, acting together?
Be reconciled, worship and work for peace,
engage your elders and clergy in the mission,
come together from feuding sides, dressed in your best,
open to harmony between people, so sick and tired.
I don’t want to scratch at raw wounds.
Maybe continuing in this vein won’t heal anything.
I’ll finish, and ask you to join me in prayer
for a gallant, honest leader
who stands against exploitation, for our protection,
steeped in patriotism, steeped in goodness.
May God send us clouds full of rain
to fall in spring and winter and make the land green,
and cleanse our souls of ill-feeling.