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