SOMALI LOVE STORIES Every people have great stories, in which they pass down to future generations.

We Somalis are great storytellers. Come to a place of gathering with Somalis, especially the older generation and one will surly hear many stories being told. Somali’s love to tell stories. Poetry plays a central role as a form of expression and unfortunately that role in my opinion is lessening with the younger generation like myself. Although I love listening to the stories and great poems from our elders I am just not well versed in the language at the moment to appreciate the beauty and depth they convey. They get it, while I stay at the surface never reaching the core unless it is explained to me in broken down steps. I searched very hard for these stories and poems translated into English, but to no avail for the most part. One of my favorite stories and poets is the story of Climi and Hodan, a love that never was but has inspired millions and will live on forever with their people. A background of the story and poems by the love stricken Cilmi is provided below (Copied and pasted from Google searches) Somalia’s greatest love story “Her name seems to you so simple. But to me it brings grief and woe. I shall never give her up, not till the day they tread earth into her grave” Cilmi Bodheri Bodheri’s poems were inspired by a tragic and true tale of “forbidden love”. While working in a bakery in the northern port city of Berbera, a young woman of exceptional beauty named Hodhan came in to buy some bread. As she said “good morning” to him, instantly he fell in love with her. He could not sleep; he could not eat or drink. He was struck by her beauty. In a conservative society, it was forbidden for any man to contact any woman or express his feelings without permission; and besides, he was a mere baker and she was from a richer family of higher social standing. The tradition would have been for his family to approach her family and formally meet. But this was not possible due to their relative social standing. The descendents of his family are still poor today. “A proud grace is her body’s greatest splendour. Yet is she gentle, womanly, soft of skin? Her (gun’s) dark gloss is likened to blackest ink. And a careless flicker of her slanted eyes Begets a light as clear as the white spring moon. My heart leaps when I see her walking by, Infinite suppleness in her body’s sway.” So he composed poetry to confess his love for her. In a traditional and nomadic society, his words broke with taboo and recited by heart by many Somalis today. He finally got a chance to see her again. He heard that she would be visiting a neighbour. But he never saw Hodhan, he fell asleep and was angry at himself for missing his chance to see her. “I have heard that other men have stepped forward to claim the girl on whom my mind was set. Wind, swear to be by the everlasting one that you will carry my words though the air.

inspirational to this day. not talk openly about love and its afflictions. a “different man” after learning that she was to be married to another man richer than himself and from the same social class as her. . “If eyes could capture the splendour that could soothe the heart.” Courage and stoicism were valued in Somali nomadic culture. from many nights of grazing in the pasture.” Bodheri left behind an extraordinary collection of poems of unrequited love.Tell her that stone houses and walls would have felt the pain. and they uncovered the top part of their dresses to show him their breasts. But they want to press forward. From many nights of grazing in the Hawd. Let God not judge you. but was not interested in anyone other than Hodhan. he became distraught. I have seen already that of Hodhan. Kenya and surrounding regions. “When the camels come back thirsty. cover your chests. They brought four beautiful young women to him. He became very emaciated and would not eat or drink. Later. his body is buried in a dusty cemetery in Berbera. Alas! Alas! What disaster has befallen me?” Cilmi Bodheri died in 1947. you have broken again. trying to keep them calm. they are brought to a halt just short of the well. but Bodheri was sleeping. young ladies you have touched once more that wound. Or human beings could be satisfied by beauty alone. It is degrading to yearn for what you cannot have. then he was asked to choose one amongst the four girls as his bride. Tell her that termite hills would have sprouted green grass if they had but heard these words of mine. They are brought to a halt just short of the well. childless and still in his youth. He was inconsolable. Hodhan is said to have gone to him one day to see him. One poem I came across on Google: When the camles come back thirsty. Hodhan didn’t want to wake him so she left. upon finding out he had missed Hodhan Bodheri wrote the following: Sleeping during the day is not a wise idea Unless I am cursed why did I miss Hodhan Bodheri was finally persuaded to marry and leave Berbera. I am like that when I hear you say: Hodhan. He refused. The tale says that Bodheri died of a broken heart. Unable to tolerate this. His clan became worried that he was now at marrying age. but they want to press forward for already they hear the “hoobey! hoobey!” of the watering chant. Hodhan used to cry too when she saw all these poetry and people criticizing her for not going to him. The “hoobay! hoobay!” of the watering-chant. While a youth sings. And now. but he kept dreaming of Hodhan and talking to his wife as if she was her. Musicians have used his words to create music and dance from Somali. He had lost his mind. The heart that I have been nursing. for alrady they hear. Ethiopia. While a youth sings trying to keep them calm. she left him and Bodheri returned to Berbera.

I felt disgraced as a woman does When the words “I divorce you” are said to her. I tried to catch her by the hand But the place by my side was emptyI found I was striving in vain. Like a hero against whom men have combined I covered my face. But it was a jinn. But to me it brings grief and woe. It is degrading to yearn for what you cannot have. Rapt in a deceitful trance. like a boy who could not save from robbers. I was humbled. not she herself. Alas Alas. I tossed from side to side. Not til the day they tread earth into her grave. The herd entrusted to his care. all but my defiant eyes. I attacked the bedclothes and punded them. A jinn made in the image of her sister. I thought I was sleeping by her side.I am like that when I hear you say “hodan”! Her name seems to you so simple. what a disaster has befallen me! . I shall never give her up. As if it were they that had caused my loss. For there was no one there. then suddenly awokeI rumpled my bed like a prowling lion.