Draft English Translation of Poems:
ASO (ASHUM): My Ancestral Home
Aso, my ancestral home in Cameroon
Aso, at the foot of Apiong[i]
You are rooted in my heart
Until the end of time.
To forget Aso
Is to forget the man who gave me life;
It is to forget the blood that runs in my body.
When I think of Aso
I think of my Dad
He who paved the way with love;
During festive periods like Christmas
He made the village our destination;
Placing a bag of rice before us
He would ask us to measure out rations
5 cups here and ten cups there
Other items would follow
Maggie cubes; Smoked fish
And we would make parcels
Distributing here and there
I have travelled to many different places
Paris, London, Brussels,
I have gone around the world making America my stop
But I continue to carry Aso in my heart
I have been told Aso is changing
I have been told problems reign in the family
I have been told chieftaincy disputes have brought in strife
But my love of Aso remains firm
It remains anchored on cherished memories
“Blood always follows the path inside a vein”
I am a child of Aso till the end of time.
Can’t Take It No More:
(Narrative poem inspired by the three Kenyang folk songs included here.)
Song: He will marry me; he says he loves me; He will marry me; this gentleman loves me; He will marry me.
He visited my father many times; his steps found our door steps many times.
He told me I am the one he loves
He told me I am the one he would marry
He said he would challenge the climb up Apiong Hill
To woo me
I was enraptured by his love
I was flattered by his love
But things quickly changed
He drank, got drunk, and staggered home
He drank, got drunk and lost his mind
My speech cuddled his blood
My screams fetched his slaps
My tears provoked his wrath
I became his punching bag,
I became dust under his foot
(song): He beat and trampled me.
I looked deep within my soul
I looked far into my future
Song (My darling whom I married in love; My darling whom I married lovingly now shouts me down “get away”; He now screams at me, “Fous le camps”)
I asked: What have I become?
One without a mother?
One without a father?
No I have people;
I found my way out of his life
I have a life to live.
[i] An imposing hill in Ashum village