Big Robe

Honored to have another poem at Via Negativa. This one was inspired by poems from Luisa A. Igloria and Dave Bonta; you can read their poems and also learn more about this type of traditional Hausa garment by following the links beneath the poem.

proud women in bright wrappers

Grateful to Dave Bonta for his entry at The Morning Porch which inspired this poem, and for sharing “proud women in bright wrappers” at Via Negativa. For those unfamiliar with this type of collage art (which was common in north Africa, particularly during the 1970s), there is a search link at the end of the Via Negativa post which should bring up some samples.

Cikin Duhu

(english translation follows below)

Ina Baga yau?
Hanyan Maiduguri
tana ja: jinin
kadani yarina,
tana ja: kafa
daga Baga. Hanya:
ja. Kafa: ja.
Zuciyana: baki.
Ubangiji, ba mu
da wakoki yau.
Ba mu da Baga.

Maiduguri, ina
tunane: muna
kira ke “gidan
zauna lafiya”
gidan aminci.
Ina aminci yau?
Yaya zamu yi
hakuri gobe,
jibi? Zo kusa
Allah. Za mu
iya yin addu’a
cikin duhu.
Same mu.


Where today is Baga?
The road to Maiduguri,
she is red: blood
of a young girl,
she is red: feet
from Baga. Road:
red. Feet: red.
My heart: blackened.
Lord, we have
no songs today.
We have no Baga.

Maiduguri, I still
remember: we
called you “home
of peace”
home of safety.
Where’s safety today?
How can we meet
with patient hope
tomorrow, the next
day? Come closer,
God. We are still
able to pray
in the dark.
Find us.

–Halima bint Ayuba, 11-Jan-2015