An Igbo poem from eastern Nigeria, praising the virtues of the farmer. Here the farmer is celebrated for his fortitude and encouraging him in his cultivation.
You have wedded your hoe to the soil,
You uproot trees with bare hands,
You are the hero who does not care
That to fight is to die;
The sun and the rain are the same
To you when the soil must be tilled;
Yours are the hands that harrow the soil:
The time is come again!
Show us now if you are still the man
That you have ever been!
from Oral Poetry from Africa (1984)
Compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White