Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree. This is a popular Yoruba song in praise of the drink.

Alimotu of the gourd (1)
Lamihun in the fibrous clump (2)
Dawn it is that heralds your approach (3)
Then evening comes, the drum crooks taps
Taps, taps in gladness
Mistress of tuppence only, yet
Chased the millionaire into the forest. (4)

You are that which the horse drank
drank, drank, and forgot his horns. (5)
You are that which the cock drank
drank, drank and forgot to urinate.
You are that which the guinea-fowl drank,
drank, till a cry pierced his throat
and he took to the wilds… (6)

from Reflections. Nigerian Prose & Verse,
edited by Frances Ademole, Wole Soyinha & Chinua Achebe,
African University Press (1962)


Footnotes

  1. Alimotu: Refers to Alimotu Pelewura, famous leader in the 1930s of the Lagos Market Women’s Association.
  2. Lamihun: There are many prominent Nigerians with this name. Does anyone know which the poet has in mind here?
  3. Palm wine is tapped at first light.
  4. It costs little, but even millionaire are desperate for it.
  5. Possibly, forgot that he doesn’t have horns like other animals his size, or possibly, forgot that his mare had betrayed him.
  6. Guinea fowls resemble chickens, but live wild in the bush.