Old age

Once I wore a fine russet cloak

And carried a shield of rhinoceros hide

I was looked upon with admiration

As one of the best of humankind-

Is this not so?

Then my spine grew short and my back grew bent

And did it not come to pass

That I had to stop and rest for the night

On a journey so short that shouting voices

Could have spanned the distance?

On the roads that are trodden by families on the move

I am passed by everyone along the way

My weapons are all surrendered now

And my hand grasps nothing but a stick-

Is this not so?

The men begotten by men whom I myself begot

Withhold the support that is my due-

The women whom I married now wish me dead.

“Give me food!” I shout- do I not?- weeping like a child.

The shameful things against which I used to guard myself

Have now descended on me, as clear as the light of day-

Is this not so?


Original poem by Raage Ugaas

An anthology of Somali poetry (1993) B.W. Andrzejewski & Sheila Andrzejeweski



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