I slept and I had this dream
If the government come from Kadugli, they stay in Kaloco.
If I take my shield, when the government comes from Kadugli.
They take their guns, I hold my shield tight.
If the bullet hits the side, it will bounce away from me.
If it comes to the centre, it will kill me.
* * *
You may say he's dead but I'm not dead
that's for the spirits to say.
If they say I'm dead then I die.
They tell me if I'm a real singer
I must go to the top of the mountains so everyone can hear
But if I'm not a real singer I should sit where I am.
* * *
I'm not a real singer. I only do this to eat.
I sing so they'll give me money and I can eat.
If I don't sing I don't eat.
If I sing like this then perhaps you will give me food.
* * *
Today this day there are many people here.
All these people are here
It's a big sibir. And they are happy.
They are celebrating because today is the day of the sibir of those who died a
long time ago
Because today is the day the spirits have said
We will celebrate the dead.
Today I will rise above the mountains, like a bird, and I look down,
And I see everyone in the world is celebrating.
Today all the people have come, the old and the young people,
They come with guns and spears and carpet beaters
And they will go around and around the house until night,
And they will stand in a circle and in the dust in the circle
Will be men with spears.
* * *
Go and get the horn because there is one man
Who knows it better than all.
There are starving people in the rainy seasons
and they go late at night to the cornfields.
If you are really starving eat the roots
of the corn and the young plant,
But if you are not starving leave the plants
so they can become tall and there will be a good harvest,
If I am a poor and starving man
and the day brings no food, will I steal?
I will not. I will say God is generous.
And if the next day brings nothing will I say God is generous?
Perhaps someone will give me food as I sit here?
I will not steal.
And the next day?
* * *
If you travel early like the wind,
If you meet an eagle coming from the east,
It is because the rains are following him,
Thanks be to God to see the rain
the gorab bird promised.
There are those who think God is in the
shape of a bird. The rains come early,
early, before we have woken, heavy rains.
We hear the cry of the gorab in our sleep.
The gorab comes from there, far away.
But this time the rains do not follow.
But far away, there are rains in the distance.
Three people die due to the rains.
The rains brought deaths. We open the graves.
All the earth is in darkness, there is no light.
What should we do now but pray?
After we pray we give thanks,
The light returns.
* * *
"And the rains we saw yesterday were out of season
Where did they come from?" they asked.
I told them those were not rains
but the spears of the Anyanya.
The world becomes bad.
There is one man who doesn't want to go to the wars
If you want me to fight, you must take me by a rope
around my neck and pull me there. I won't go.
If you tell me to fight, go and take my spear
and cut my throat with it
because then you will be content.
If you cut my throat, and you are content,
the spirits will watch you.
If I die the spirits will watch you,
and perhaps they will kill you.
And your mother will weep as mine has.
If I die the people will weep,
and my mother and father will call all the people
and we will mourn with our hands outstretched
because I have no life left,
The spirit has gone from me.
* * *
I walked through the night from Angolo.
When I came to Toroji I heard the cock crow.
If anyone tells you to go—do not go.
Sit in your house. When the next morning
comes, then go. For there are those in
the road who will make trouble for you.
For there are those in the road who will
kill you as you killed their cousin.
If they want to kill, let them take guns
and kill me from far off.
For if they take sticks and we fight close
they won't kill me.
Now I must make the circle alone for the
sibir tonight. But it is already morning
and now it is too late.
If you are a coward, why do you go to make
the circle for a sibir?
Transcribed and translated by Arthur Howes and Amy Hardie, 1988