This is another version of the song in praise of palm-wine, attributed to Liyongo the national hero of the Swahili people. See also Liyongo’s Drinking Song for a different version of this song.

O tapster of soured wine,
from the sheath of the withered palm, (1)
Draw wine for me in the pipkin-jar (2)
that was tapped by my own tapster. (3)
Draw wine for me in the little flask
that makes a man stagger and sway.
Draw wine for me in the wine-jar mulled
and dregged of its lees. (4)
When I am well-wined I stand demanding
my keen-edged sword,
My keen-edged sword with its guard-leaves
of steel and its hilt of mtupa-wood, (5)
My keen-edged sword that hangs from the peg
where the war-horn and trumpets hang,
Where are slung the state-drums
and the rack-edged spears of battle. (6)

from Swahili Poetry (1962),
Lyndon Harries


Footnotes

  1. The singer rejects sour wine tapped from a withered palm.
  2. Pipkin-jar: A three-legged clay-pot with a handle.
  3. Rulers like Liyongo would have their own professional tapsters.
  4. The wine is warmed, and strained to get rid of the dregs.
  5. Mtupa-wood: A type of euphorbia.
  6. Spears with serrated edges.