Thursday, 19 June 2014

POET OF THE MONTH #17: Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf



The boy that I love
was made handsome by God;
fine as a jewel.
My people, where is he?

I'm looking intently,
eyes fumbling ––
confused ––
conjuring him everywhere.
My people, where is he?

Whilst others sleep,
I'm sick with not-sleeping,
each faint, muddled voice
makes me strain to hear.

Nothing will nourish ––
I don't eat or drink.
My throat's dry,
my lips crack,
a gag's in my mouth.

How many times has rain drenched me?
Drops pummel my skin,
then the storm's deep boom;
floods approach ––
their ferocity sweeps me away like a stem.

How many times must I climb the mountain?
Wrestle through jungle,
trek endless paths
or tumble down their steep slopes.
My soul doesn't say stop,
it forces me on.
I heave myself onto the ledge for you.

How many times have the sticky trees,
the thorns, the acacia,
the bilcil's rough limbs
the shrubs, clingy weeds
the sog-sog dragged me away?

The venomous black snakes,
the pythons, coiled vipers,
the startled, slippery abeeso,
how many times have I stepped over them?
How many times must I outrun them?

I've wounded myself with love ––
I've snapped bones, they leak marrow,
I'm flat on my back.
And this self-destruction, these difficulties
mean nothing, my dear.

Because of your love, Jamaal,
the male lion, maned,
creaking his fangs,
has caught a she-camel
and severed its artery.

With his jaw,
leaning forward,
he laps up the blood.
I keep near this creature.
It is my neighbour.
I'll stay here now, because of you.

The elephant with its tough hide
rears its trunk,
whips trees aside,
destroying the forest.
I don't mind this either.

I don't feel compassion.
I don't get gooseflesh.
Because of your love, Jamaal,
I stay with beasts now.
They are my neighbours.
I belong here, because of you.

All this hardship I endure,
all this wasteful pain,
it's because I love you.
My people, where is he?

date unspecified


The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the website of THE POETRY TRANSLATION CENTER.  [It is re-posted here for recommendation purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf is a poet from Somalia/Somaliland who writes in Somali.  She is quickly emerging as one of the most exciting young poets living in the Somali diaspora.

Like all Somalis, Caasha grew up in a culture steeped in poetry and while she was young she started to compose her own poems. Her work began getting published on Somali websites in 2008 and, since then, she's rapidly garnered a great deal of praise for her ability to infuse her poetry with fresh imagery enlivened by telling details.

Caasha came to the UK in 1990 having fled the Somali Civil War. She now has three children and a steady job and a growing career as a poet. 

Click HERE to read more poems by CAASHA LUL MOHAMUD YUSUF published on THE POETRY TRANSLATION CENTRE website.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #11: Fatma Ben Mahmoud 
POET OF THE MONTH #8: Mohammed Bennis
WRITERS ON WRITING #31: Jana El Hassan

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