c. 1910-1941. He spent his youth as a pastoralist but around 1930 he moved to the town of Berbera and worked there as a baker. He fell in love with a girl called Hodon whom he hardly knew, and when it proved impossible to marry her he recited many desperate poems which won him nationwide fame. Hodon was given in marriage to another man and Cilmi is said to have died of grief. His grave in Berbera is sometimes visited by ill-starred lovers.
At times I made light of it
And I was free.
Then suddenly I was shown her in a vision
And she was radiant in hue, like a lighted lantern.
Surely she must have been imprinted on my heart
How else could I be so intoxicated with her?
Inside my breast she tick-tocks to me like a watch
At night when I sleep she comes to sport with me
But at early dawn she leaves
And turns into a rising pillar of dust.