My thanks to the Ghanaian poet Adjei Agyei-Baah for this composition a praise song dedicated to his wife, Benedicta Adjei Baah.
The goddess who struts in rocking beads
Aah! So you think the lizard nods for nothing…
Jarabi (also spelled Diarabi) is a love song that first became popular with many kora players and guitarists in Mali, Gambia and Guinea in the early 1960’s.
Forgive me, mothers, but money cannot buy love
It’s true, forgive me, fathers, no riches can buy love…
The following love poems are very different from the Shona poems previously posted on this site. These are erotic love poems sung only in the bedroom, by husband and wife.
Thank you, you of the girdle at the delicate place!
Well done, Zebra!
Hail you, The Giver of consent!
Thank you, Ms-giver-by-the-gourd!..
This is another version of the much-loved Swahili love song from the east African coast (see Serenade), probably the best known and most widely admired of all Swahili poems in translation. Like My Mwananazi, it is associated with Liyongo, the epic hero.
O lady, be calm and cry not out but attend to your suitors patiently,
listen patiently to them who have climbed up to your window…