Poems by Prof. Abdulaziz Y Lodhi

Preamble by Dr Ahmed S Faris rendered in Uppsala, December 2016:

Professor Abdulaziz Y Lodhi in this edition of Monsoon Reflexions reveals a lot about a Thinking Migrant who perpetually evokes rapt nostalgia in the adopted land. Lodhi has shown that those in the diaspora tend to remember what they had left behind in the lands of their birth when they are in deep personal thoughts either privately or collectively as a group. This is indicative of their struggle to try to be in accord with their multiple identities with regard to ethnicity, religion, culture, language and social inclusion in the new land. Lodhi´s reminisces depicted in the poems such as Land of sun, sea, and sand, What I sang before I fled, I became complete and In praise of the Ladies of our Coastlands, are typical examples of thoughts, and personal internal voice boxes that an individual in the diaspora composes in his/her thoughts when in a process of remembering the original homeland and feeling the impacts of integration in the new land. In I became complete, Lodhi reveals the following:

I was born of my Maa and Baa,
my mother and my father,
in our Kiambo,
in the home of my ancestors,
under minazi, the palm trees,
under miembe, the mangoes,
under mipea the avocados
and mizambarau the Java plums,
and mapera the guavas,
and mbirimbi the star-fruit.

The land of sun, sea and sand
Our coast is lovely
with sunny beaches,
sandy and long!
We have days to sail,
without much to avail!
We have dreams to dream –
there should be water to bring
for those waiting to be born!
These are our promises!
We have days to sail
before we throw our anchor
at the islands in the ocean!
Mkwajuni, Zanzibar, 1965.

Our open lands
And I enjoy most our open lands,
where birds fly high
and proudly,
high by the white clouds,
where the sun shines ever bright and hot,
near the cliffs,
the palms
and the blue sea!
Uppsala, Sweden. April 1993.

Lands of Zinjibar, the Black Coasts
O Beauty!
Beauty that is brown and black!
What is there that you lack?
All my love’s for you,
O brown and black beauty –
it is my filial duty,
but to love you!
I love your mounts,
your rivers,
your lakes,
and your sun that bakes the earth,
red and brown and black;
your peoples dark,
your soils dark,
the depths of your lakes are dark;
under the green of your jungles –
it is dark!
Yours is a golden sun,
yours is a silver moon,
and snowy mounts are your breasts,
and slender streams are your waist!
I will go, and all will go;
many will come
and many more.
Our voices will always wander about
and stare at you with a wondrous gaze,
for your bewitching beauty will hold out
against the ravaging besiege of passing days,
and this spirit will last in stout
through tenacious Time that but decays!
O Zangibar! Zinjibar! Zangistan!

The green lands of white sands,
of long coasts
and countless beaches
of warm and soft silver sands!
This is our verse,
and in this our love will shine ever bright,
through worldly spoilage,
to the remotest day
and remotest night!
Zanzibar, December 1963.

What I sang before I fled
Before I fled,
and took a fishing boat,
and became a fugitive,
do you recall what I sang?
I sang without complaint,
and yet it was a long lament!
I said without hatred:
No, I can’t be here, no more!
Our land is no more for living!
No, neither here nor there,
neither in the cities
nor in the villages!
It’s an abode of abject poverty,
of corruption and cruelty,
of disillusion and despair!
No, I can’t be here,
not any more!
Mukalla, South Yemen. August 1968.


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