African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Acoli

The Horn of My Love

An Acoli girl’s love song from northern Uganda, collected and translated by the famous Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek, author of Song of Lawino. It would be sung during the ortak or courtship dance.

Where has my love blown his horn?
The tune of his horn is well known…

Hunters Prayer (Acoli)

An Acoli prayer from Uganda, the hunter is praying that his spear will be adequate for the hunt.

The spear with the hard point,
Let it split the granite rock…

His eyes died long ago

An Acoli poem from Uganda.

His eyes died long ago,
You can see clouds in them…

The Homestead of Death’s Mother

An Acoli death-defying dirge from Uganda, sung by relatives of the deceased as they arrive for the Guru Lyel ceremony. See also the poems Close to Her Husband and If Death were not there

Coward, Crawl Back

An Acoli poem from Uganda.

Coward, crawl back into your mother’s womb!
We are sons of the brave


An Acoli prayer from Uganda. It is addressed to the ancestors who are offered as sacrifice a goat, a chicken and some beer. The prayer is for good health, for protection from disease and warfare, and for good crops and many children. It is led by an elder, and the people respond in chorus at the end

The ancestors have spoken today:
Bring forth a brown billy goat,

If Death Were Not There

An Acoli dirge from Uganda. The ceremony of Yokko Pala, in which a widow chooses a new husband, is held three or four months after the Guru Lyel, the feast held in honour of the deceased. See also Close To Her Husband.

Close To Her Husband

An Acoli lament from Uganda. According to Acoli custom, a feast called Guru Lyel is held many months after the funeral of the deceased.

African Poems