Articles from the 1997 Festival of American Folklife
Program Book


Buraanbur Poetry
by Rukia Hussein, trans. Abdhirahman Dahir

The following poem in the original Somali below and in English translation is representative of buraanbur, a women's praise poetry and dance tradition that is carried on by the Somali community in the Washington, D.C. area.

A Mother Praises Her Beloved Daughter

My beloved girl, you are a gift from Allah.
You are sweet, bestowed on me by the Victorious One.
When you were a baby and were held on a lap,
When you became an adolescent and took your place among your peers,
And went to school and claimed success,
Your intellect and knowledge rounded in every way,
You helped me when I lagged behind,
So I pray Allah the Omnipotent on your behalf.
May your life be lived at the highest level
When you begin to date and are ready for marriage.
Do not nag him, and let not your grumbling be heard;
Open your house and spread mats for his people.
Apply incense at home, and dress and indulge him with pleasure,
But if he rewards you with mischief, move out from his home.
Accept this conclusion of my bestowing prayers to you:
I wish you paradise in the life hereafter.

Hooya Amaanaysa Gabadheeda
Gabadhii aan jeclaayeey galaddii Ilaahayeey
Gacalkii la i siiyey ee guule ii gartaay
Gaban markii aad ahayd ee laagu gardaadsanaa
Gurbood markaad noqotay ubadkii ka raacaay gees
Dugsigana aad aaday guushiina soo hantiday
Garaadkaaga iyo aqoontaada gees walbab gaasir ma leh
Markii aan gaabshay tii ii gargaartayeey
Oo guulahaan tuugay rabbigayga gacanta wayn
Giddigeeda noloshaada ha ahaato garabka sare
OO guur marka aad gaarto oo wiil is-gacashataan
Ninka ha guul gullin guryankaaga yaan la maqal
Gurboodka ururi gacalkiisa gogol u fidi
Go+yaasha u uumi oo raaxo heer ka gaar
Oo gurrac haddii aad aragto gurigiisaba uga guur
Gunaanadka iga guddoon gaamur duco gin-giman
Golaha aakhirana jannadii ku hayso gogol

Abdhirahman Dahir has been working as a community scholar for the African Immigrant Folklife Study Project since 1994. He is a Training Coordinator for Lutheran Social Services and a great admirer of traditional Somali poetry.

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