Simple expression of love
Here are two selected Oromo love songs from Prof.Claude Sumner’s book, ‘Proverbs, Songs, Folketales: An Anthology of Oromo Literature’.
Dr. Sumner had taught phiolosophy at the Addis Abeba University for many years , and he is known for his book on Ethiopian philosophy “Philosophy of Man“.
Intorducing the love poems, the author says that many Oromo love songs are simply varitations on the theme:the joy of love.The methaphors and compassion vary from song to song ,but the basic thoght is ever the same:the heart breaks, is enflamed , intoxicated, runs away;thoght of the girl makes the lover go away, takes away his own judgement.
My hands are stronger than yours:
They cut and cause the tree gadzdza to dry.
My feet are stronger than yours;
They cut and reach Roggie;
My eyes follow the vulture in its flight.
My heart isn’t strong as yours,
My wicked heart which has wings,
which breaks like a pumkin!
(The gadzdza is a big tree called in Amharic dana:din.Roggie is the capital of the Nonno roggie group that lives on the left bank of the Gibie, oppoite Limmu.)
O, stumbling, O great stumbling!
O, stumbling as if the pavement were pitch!
Why do you refuse to come, to come?
Have you made yourself equal to jifar
Have you beocme like Dula?
they’re two kings.
we’re two bits of salt!
Ingeniuos like a calf, murmuring like a spiit!
Her eyes are like the white sorghum of the plateau;
Her eyebrowse are like dzimma not yet ripe;
Her cheeks are like pieced pierced flesh;
(Abba jiffar,the king of jimma and Abba dula, the king of guma.The bite of salt alluded to are used as money by the Oromo.The “white sorghum” is very little valued and the people eat it only in times of famine.the dzimma is a plant with red ears. It can be eaten, but the Oromo use it pricipally as remedy for eye infection.)