Ode to the camel


By, Hamfedhe cAli, 36, Abcalá district, Asangola, recorded by Mulubrahn Balehgn, 4 August 2012.

Cattle from upland, cattle from lowland

Goats from here, sheep from there

Are you (my camels) ever going to have the trees

That you once had all for yourselves?

In the summer, the floods

In the winter, the locusts

In the upland, the Christians

On the lowland, the sorghum fields

In Awash, the woyyane trees (Prosopis julifora)

Where should I take you my heart (my she-camel)?

Adapted from: Encomium of the Camel: The Oral Sung Poetry of the Afar Pastoralists of Ethiopia, Mulubrhan Balehegn, University of Florida



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