John Agandin   (June 01, 2020)

 

Korona Vairosiwa Tugurika

(The Battle of Corona)

Introductory note
Some time ago, my friend Gabriel Mifetu asked me to compose a poem in my language (Buli). Recently, he asked me to write a poem about the Coronavirus pandemic. This is my attempt to kill both of those birds. I had made an earlier composition about the coronavirus in my native tongue. That was basically a ‘translation’ into the Buli language, the key measures to stay safe as published by the GHS and the WHO and had little poetic quality in my own view. The composition below is more or less in the same line. Its poetic quality, I leave to you who can read both the English and Buli languages.

 

         “Tugurika tom-mu!  Tugurika tom-mu!
          Bai le kuli, bai kan kuli
          Piema zik chaab ka dela”!
          Ti koma jam pie wiisanga ayi ka dila
5        Ba ale Babatu kpalinsinga dila po dila po
           Ate ku teba nyin-biidi, ate ba chiib zaani anag de
           Taa me jinla za tugurik ka choa pielimu po
           Da-bienga akum fiin fiin, pieminga a feri kak! kak!
           Ti mabisa ale ti kobisa alo jata jata a gilim ti,
10      Ba ziimu achale tengka meena se benangsa la
           Alege kperi san kperi, ti deem ze dachiaka jigiya
           Abi ntaamu aweini ka ti tong wa le piema
           Yaase ti che wa ale laasa, ka jinla le jin.

          Korona vairosiwa tugurika po ate ti bo.
15      Dachia-kai te tin maa tu nyala
          Jinla ale bo teng zuk de meena
          A ko nuriba a cheng.
          Wa kan yai wa nag ti vari ka ti nganta;
          Wa kan yai ti niiga yaase ti piisa
20     Wa kan yai ti buo yaase ti kpiina.
          Wa be kan yai wa tati jo yontiri po,
          Aaya! wa dim bula a yaali ka taa dek wa ko.
          Wa yuei ale ‘Akisimiboka’!
          Wa busen ale ‘Akperi saaloa’
25     Ba gela nya wa tuiminga a kum
          Ba gela me deem ze wa wakaasiminga
          Ate ba pa wa wienga chim diinta
          Ba gela pa chim venta, yaase pimpaasung
          Akorona dek bi le poom ayai diila nla
30     Ate wa nya suik tagli tengka meena a cheng.

  Ba kan kpi le ngman yiti a de
   ‘Ndaan din seba’ bi kan yeeri nur wari po abasi
   Chaaso! Chaaso! kan nag kpeo ayiti
   Fi le seb nyiam le fi le zaan bu noi ngmani

35      Ka dila nying ti ba wein taa long akorona la
          Ti nye kukeri a kali yeri be ti basi toglika
          Taa sugri ti nisa ale chiiuk a be
          Ti kaa tag nina yaase taa legsi nyue
          Abi ti nye kukeri avuk nua le nyue nambatoka
40     Nambatoka vuka dan poom ta wulim yaase ku a kaasi dalung
          Ka nyuvuri ale sua jena, nkan je a zunchonga a basi tin yiri
          Ka daam dema ale weini; suom dan lang chala, fi me lang yuka
          Akorona laa ko kum bui la ka nin mita kum
          Ti dan ta daamwa kanjanta-nga, ale daam nin lagrimi nga
45      Ate Akorona aga pa nang tab Buluku po
          Dii le di jam la, akan ta womka
          Nurwoboa ado wa naab ale bu dua ka teng
          Ni te ti yiri zaani, ti ti ngaam yiak wa basi
          Nandub yen kan tiak bokta gyenta,
50     Fi me nye fi magdek tuima te fi vari fi dek ale waameena basi
          Zurugaluu! Lam kan be.

 

Translation

“See the armies file forth
Some will return, many will not
For here, iron meets iron”!
Thus, our fathers sang with the flutes
5    In their battles with Babatu long ago
Drawing strength and courage to emerge victorious.
In our day we stand in another battlefield
Bullets are hissing by, and arrows are finding their mark.
Our mother’s children and our father’s children are falling around us
10    Their blood run like streams
Yet, mysteriously we cannot see our enemy
Not to talk of shooting him back
Or cutting him down with our axes. Today is today!

This is the battle of corona
15    An enemy never seen before
Has appeared all over the world
Arriving to decimate all humanity
He comes not to plunder our wealth
Neither our cattle nor our sheep
20    Not our goats, not our guinea fowls
He cares not even to enslave us
No, to mow us down is all he desires
By the name of “Hater of life” he goes
And his appellation is “Confound humanity.”
25    Who encountered him now weep in grief
Yet ignorant of his deeds are many yet.
And some dismiss him as a joke
Others still deign to call him lies or deception,
All this to his delight
30    Being fertile ground for his spread.

The dead rise not to eat
‘Had I known’ does not save from trouble
Help! Help! Wakes not the dead
To know water is to stop at the bank and return
35   That is the import of the protect yourself campaign;
Stay home and go not abroad
Wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap
Then avoid touching eyes and nose
And regularly wear the nose mask.
40    This last maybe uncomfortable and disturb the conversation,
But life owns eggs and not to fight is better than rising from defeat
Our fathers said it; when the hare changes its run, change your throw.
Death through corona is a nightmare
Being headstrong or playing smart won’t help
45    If corona knocks at the door of our Kingdom
Unspeakable disaster will follow
But the weak may ride his cow whilst it’s lying down
So rise up to drive corona away.
To eat bokta [1] soup, you need all the fingers
50    Do all you can to save yourself and others
Together, the game cannot escape!

[1] Mesosphaerum suaveolens: Common names: Chinese mint, horehound, hyptis, mintweed, pignut, wild spikenard

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