Another of the poems attributed to Liyongo, the national hero of the Swahili people, who lived in the area of the delta of the Tana River, north of Mombasa.

Praise my bow with its haft of the wild-vine,
let it be dressed with oil and shine like glass.
When I set out I shot a snake through its throat
and an elephant through its ear as it trumpeted.
Then I shot a piebald crow and a duiker in full flight,
and they tell me,
Stand aside, son of Mbwasho, (1)
lay your weapons to one side.

from Swahili Poetry (1962),
Lyndon Harries


  1. Mbwasho: Liyongo’s father.