Thursday, June 08, 2006

Èmí-in mi Èmí-in re

The following is a translation of the poetry of a Yoruba poet/ewi chanter. One of his most famous pieces of oral poetry released in 1984(?) and published in text in 2002, "Èmí-in mi Èmí-in re" is loosely translated to My love, life (is) your life your love. The following is only a part.

All rights for this translation is reserved.

My love is your love, there's none else on earth.
Come home dear and sweeten me in splendour.
My dear, eyes in a pair do see clearer
and feet in twos walk better in grace.
Beaded waists, being double can sit gloriously.
Hold me now
Let our bodies touch, for good.
My heart is your heart; there's none else alive.

An ear does not befit the head
--nor one sandal the leg.
Rid of the thumb, the hand is but one ugly stump,
and without ears, our head will resemble a useless log.
Ears-glorify-the-head, that is what I call one who loves
and is loved in return.
So let our heads touch, and lips too
let's lie on each other and let our chests embrace
in sweet dialogue.

You are the snail and I the pot,
I long you to cover up, where lies your exit??.
You're the shrub and I the squirrel,
tonight, I climb you to the top.
You are the shooting star and I the moon,
this evening, I take you to heaven's gate
where lights surpass each other
and till dawn will my moon outshine the stars.

Love is the biggest commandment, people.
People, let's make love.
Only love can keep six people in a small room.
Without love, there's strife. Let's strive.
Strive to keep our loves burning hot...

The weevil that eats the vegetable leaf is probably justified,
Oludoyinsola, my love, I tell you,
there is a limit to the leaves' extravagant beauty.

My love is your love, none else exists.
Hold me now like pillars hold the roof.
My heart is yours and for none else alive.
Touch me now, like spider webs and shrubs bind themselves in the jungle.
Hold me now; beloved,
like sperm and ova embracing in the dark bosom
towards becoming a pretty infant babe.
Two on two, perfect on perfect,
let our eyes meet, let our lips touch;
face to face, the border's clear;
My heart is yours, yours mine, my love, there's none else alive...


Now come home, like it's done,
sweetie, why wait, come home.
As you have heard:
You are old enough. Do come home.
The yam that delays loses the company of long fish stew.
The rain corn that waits vainly
will only miss the joy of bean cake and fried bean ball.
That damsel that stalls needlessly
is only denying herself the prompt ritual of a new born.
You are old enough, one with graceful breasts.
Don't wait to level up with the farmer,
Ajoke Oyindamola, come home and retire.


Odidere is the cult, others are the uninitiated.
When you enter the ant's nest, I'm with you.
Even if you go into the soldier ant's underground cave
It's you and me.
Now, it may even be heaven's large yard - dear -
With a palm nest rope, I'll climb with you up there.
Only he who can count the fishes in the deep
can count all my heartfelt love for you.

My love is yours, and my heart wholly too;
There's no such else on the surface of the world.


Sixteen whole brakes
is what women are known to have
But the man who takes the first away
surely too must possess the second.

A woman is not seen useful
during pleasure and fanfare;
Let's wait till it's bad and discomforting
to see the darling, longsuffering wife.

The acquaintance can never be compared to the road guide.
When the guide turns and leaves,
When things become too hard:
Only true acquaintance will show us out.

Trans. 2005/1

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