photograph by Angelique Schreiber

KAWALWALNIYA (WISHFUL GROPER)
A Hausa poem accompanied by its English translation.

Ina amfanin kogin da ke gudana
‘kishirwa na kisa.
ina amfanin ‘kwaryar kogin
da tururuwa ba za su yi nin’kaya ciki ba, balle su walwale

She wouldn’t want to be brimful
river that quenches no thirst
rather shallow where ants cling for taste
can fall swim drink bask and rest in

Ina amfanin hadarin kaka,
lumus ba hus
ai gara bakan-gizon ko ba komi, ya zo bayan laima

she wouldn’t want to be dark shawls in skies
with menacing looks that fail to release drops
but Rainbow that emerges after heavy downpour

Ina amfanin inuwar giginya, ko ba giringirin ba…
ko farin wata, ba-kallo, ko ya’ke.
ai gara ta zama kanarin da ke fama da mura
ko rurin jaki a tsakar dokar daji

she wouldn’t want to be just shadows and echoes
crescent silhouettes or feigned smiles
bird with sore throat like drum that can’t make sound
but the real deal that roars echoing thunder

Ina amfanin ‘kamshin abinci ga mabaraci, kwano bihim,
ko sha’awar gizo ga budurwa, gara ta zamo falke a kasuwar ilimi.
ana zundenta da zama juya, abar ‘kyama
alhali ta kasance kaza, uwar kyankyasa

she wouldn’t want to be hunger of beggar
or of lustful desires but thirst of knowledge seeker
still, she’d rather be goat or hen that delivers
than barren object of pity or despise

Ina amfanin mafadin mutuwa, mai dugunzuma rayuwa
gara gudar unguwarzoma, tafkin farin ciki
mene amfanin ta zamo rawani ko turken-wawa,
ba basaraken ba, sai ‘yar kallo
gara dai ta zamanto ganga, fadi ko ba a tambaye ki ba

she wouldn’t want to be announced with sad tears
like death, but new born baby bearer of jubilations
she wouldn’t want to make the titles, or be them
much more than onlooker, she wishes to write them
on skies illuminated by moon

Ina amfanin zama ra’kumi da akala,
da gafiya kan ja har rami, dubalen da bai da alfanu
mene ne dadin amon da amadun kunne ke kokawa
gara ta zamo mayya, ta ci dubu sai ceto, a dokar daji
kuda wajen kwadayi zai mutu; a bakin akushinta

she wouldn’t want to be a tamed sheep
that could win world cup of obedience
that never cries but creaks like old door or rickety chair
but the one that eats lions for breakfast elephants for dinner
that no fly dares touch her plate

Ina amfanin jirgin ruwa da bai da matuki, a tsakiyar teku
gara kwale-kwalen Annabi Nuhu, komin tsufansa
kyan shigifa, ai jinkarta
sararin samaniya ko don inuwarta
gara rikon lema, kariyar rana da ruwan sama

also she’d rather be rafter that carries all to safety
than big ship lost in Bermuda.
or room with no roof above to shelter
like skies cover but give no cover
she’d rather be umbrella or raincoat that protects.

Gara ta zamo dila, sarkin dabara
ko kuma zaki, sarki, ko kun gardi
ko damisa, kura, baiwarki, a fagen cizgar nama
kai ko ma mage, mai ban tsoro gun ‘beraye.

she’d rather be fox that senses foreboding
lion that scares foes
leopard that guzzles preys
a cougar maybe even cat that pounces on rats

Fatanta kullum, kada ta zama kwallon kaddara
mai fadowa daga iccen rimi, sai cikin rijiya
ko kuma ta yi abota da mujiyoyi, masu wasa cikin duhun dare.

she wishes not to tumble from hands of fate again
into dark engulfing hole with nothing
or to date owls who silently prowl

ba ta fatan hawayenta su su’ke ta,
ta fi son ta ji suna mayar da martani,
in ko ba haka ba, kushewa ce ‘kar’konta,
kamar yadda fa’duwar rana ke shigar giza-gizai
tsakaninta da rumbun dare, a duniya,

she wouldn’t want her tears to suffocate
but speak yell if they must
else her demise shall go unnoticed
unlike Sunset who plunges the world in
blissful trance of beautiful darkness

ko kuma ta yi ta renon duniya, har ta yi barci
cikin murmushin saniya da kunyar jimina
idan kuwa har za ta ci gaba da lalube a cikin duhu
ko ba kome ta yi abota da wata, dan daren sha hudu
farin wata kyal-kyal….

or sinks the Earth into short slumber with
sheepish grin and wild blush
for if she must grope in dark she would
in the least befriend Moon for companionship
and a wisp of light…

Maryam Gatawa is a young poet from Northern Nigeria. She is a passionate lover of arts. Some of her literary works have been published in the African Writer Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears, PIN Quarterly Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Better Than StarBucks, Anthology Of Best New African Poets 2017, The Arts Muse Fair, Kalahari Review, and local papers.

When she is not writing poetry, she is talking to her parrots or playing snooker, watching Netflix, or reading other poets. She can be reached on Twitter @meegat12.

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