Mohamoud Abdi Shideh through the eyes of
the Poet by Rhoda A. Rageh
Hassan H. Abdullahi (Xasan Ganay) is a brilliant bard equal only to Shakespeare in eloquence and
natural gift. He is equal only to Milton in his use of oxymoron and surpasses the sensitivity of
Wordsworth. His superior intelligence enables him to draw from a vast reservoir of vocabulary,
which is why his poetry touches the deepest feelings of humanity. His precise expression does not
boast the gift of western education.
He does not dwell on his knowledge of Greek and Latin nor
draws from genres and conventions of ancient role models; rather he relies only on the basin of
God given natural talent. He does not write or read. Therefore, his beautiful expression needs
to be preserved for the longevity of the Somali language and cultivation of culture as well as
to reserve his rightful place in history. A poet of his kind should not be forgotten. His western
counterparts rest on their laurels as poet laureate.
He is a Somali poet and like many before him,
his poetry will be remembered only in fragments, which without his sensitivity will be rendered mere
utterances unless something is done now. He is not only a Poet; he is also a Play-write who has
written plays about every moment of our recent history. I have discovered the Poet few years ago
quite by accident when in a stretch of boredom, I straightened a discarded, creased paper. Although
the occasion of the poem I am about to discuss is sad, my encounter with the Poet was pleasurable
and has since exhilarated my aesthetic sensibilities.
The Poet eulogizes a mortal whose service he has hallowed. The name of the poem is Garab Daar. His
strong intuition observes and enshrines the intuition of the deceased who he describes as one who
had cultivated intuition through fine observation. Intuitive feelings and keen observation are as
entangled here as the feelings of the poet and deceased.
I divided the poem into stanza and in my
own observation will try to point out the turns in the poem. The first stanza captures the Poet's
sense of disbelief on the demise of his friend thus still keeps him alive at least in deed.
Godka Hanadkii lagu riday Gurmadkiisi Aaskiyo
Gogoshii Tacsiyihiyo Gabayda Baroorta ah
Rag Intay gundhinayeen, Gurigayga kama bixin.
Mana gabin halkaygee, Waxaa aan la gaabshee,
Gadaal ii ridaa jirey, Geeddigaasi waa kow
Guuraaoo hadana raray Goashiyo iyo xasuus ba leh.
The Poet's physical absence from the services and wakes of the deceased is juxtaposed with his
powerful feelings of loss. While some focus on the mundane rituals mourning the deceased; the Poet
withdraws into himself and searches for his own sense of loss. Therefore, his absence is a presence
in which he immortalizes the man in the grave. While some dig deep into the earth to hide his corpse,
the Poet digs deep into his memory and brings out the immortal soul. The first stanza ends with a
refrain by which the poet makes many turns. Memory embraces joyful past with painful present.
He recollects the dark days of Siad Barre and their mission together.
Gulufkiyo colaadii Innagiyo gumaystii,
Gobanimo u dirirkii Raggii guuro bahallaha,
Gaadmiyo badheedhkaba U guntaday dalkoodiyo,
Inta goalka dhalisiyo, Gaashaan biruu haa
Gocoshaiyo xasuusba leh
The Poet leaves his feeling unattended like the hanging refrain that runs through the poem;
hence epitomizes the loss of his friend and the loneliness of his feelings. The deceased national
hero was a shield (one of many metaphors to characterize him) in the battle against Siad Barre.
Characterization which continue to intensify in the following lines serves both as a tribute to
his friend's courage and chides the temerity of his rivals.
Wuxu gaadh ka hayn jirey, Danta Guud xilkeedoo.
Waligii nin Guurtiya Gaf wuxuu ku raacaa
Iyo wuu gardaran yahay Guubaabideediyo,
Baaqiyo Guhaadiyo In la geeddi geliyiyo
Hadba geesta dhawrta leh, In uu gudin u daabiyo
In uu dhacan u gooyee, Gocor iyo Rifaa jira
Raadkiisa gurayoo, Garbo la hadhsanaayiyo,
Gebi baa dullamoo, Waxa dhacay gunweyniyo
Geedkii xabriireed. Geesaaska fiintiyo
Guumaysta taahdiyo Galowga iyo xiidkii
Waxay giida la hayeen Danab lagu goblamayoo
Galbaday ogaadeen Garabkii dugsoona .
Gabayoox lal badaniyo Gabadanaa ka socotee
Goobtii qaboobaa!! Markaan gudub jaleecaba
Galiilyaa I qabatee, Geeridu xumaydee.
Goblan talo aduunyooy Mrkuu geesi hoydaba
Garshaaa u oydee Siduu gabaygi Cali yidhi,
Waxan ahay geddiisee, Intuu gooni u laha
Farta waxa ku godi jiray Inta gowska xeershiyo,
Gurtan raaca liitee, Wuxu gudiyo Moxamuud
Wuxuu galay intii ogi Gocoshiyo xusuusba leh.
Endless metaphors cataloguing the brave qualities of the deceased confronting the fear of the
cowardly bring the despondence of the Poet into a climax and culminate into blasphemy---disbelief
in his own mortality. The name of the deceased is first mentioned here among many testaments to
his personal integrity and his untarnished accomplishments. In a comparison between him and his
opponents, Mohamoud's giant strides distance him from folly. He was a nationalist whose only purpose
to serve his country was unequaled. In this sense, the soldier friend laments a partner.
The Poet is the sole witness to the valor and knightly values of his compatriot.
Gebigeed adduunyada Afarteeda geesood,
Waxa geedan lagu yahay ama laysku gaasiray,
Geeraar ka libintiyo, Gumaaradu haadeer tahay,
Waa geedda saarka leh, Garoonada ciyaaraha,
Gudaha iyo dibadaba Tiimkii Galaaskiyo
Soo hooyay guulaha Gadhwadeen hogaashoo,
Lagu gami jiruu haa. Goosh laga macaashiyo
Ganacsi uma jeedine Geyiguu la rabay magac
Gocoshiyo xusuusba leh
Mohamoud's oratory and power of persuasion and his fine intuition were combined with his courage.
His refine arbitration was always sought after and the delicate balance of his negotiation that have
often lead to peaceful resolve were sorely missed. He was a hero who never flinched from standing
by the truth.
Goob laysku xaadhiyo Gole doodu kulushoo,
Guul oomman lagu jiro Xaajaduna Gudubtoo,
Geel daaqsintii iyo, Tagtay buuro guudkood,
Waxaan doqni garanayn Fuluhuna ka gaabsaday,
Giir layska kiciyiyo, Ishoo laysku guba iyo,
Goolaaftankoodii inta Gaarka wax u raba,
Ina shide Galgalashiyo, inuu gorada roag iyo,
Muu aqoonin galowdee taladuu gedaankiyo,
Girgirkeeda hayn jirey, jeeruu guddoonkiyo,
guryo samo in lagu wado, Gocashiyo xusuusba leh
In the following lines, The Poet's reminisce of the generosity of his friend renders him as a
patron for the youth whose hospitality of unknown guests never burdened his soul. Many a time
circumstances prevented the happy union of young lovers, were overcome by him, or poor homes whose
inhabitants could not buy the bare necessities were nurtured by his kindness. He followed his
intuition to where need was most acute and indiscriminately provided. He was willfully generous.
Waxa guunyo caabuda, gudhanaha la caayee
Alla gacan furaayee Marti fiid gab soo tidhi
Subixiina kaa guday, Garriyow ma buuree,
Intuu laba is guursaday Isku jecel gar iyo waaq
Hayeeshee waqtigu gabay gabbashana ku kala jira
Gol-dalooladooiyo, goortuu xogtii helay,
Isagoon garnaba dayin nolosha u gardaadshuu
Maalimogaaban dabadood Galbiyaay la yidhiyee
Gaafkoodii laga tummay Rugtiina goolal lagu qalay
Gocoshiyo xasuusba leh
Intuu guri sabooloo, Gadan karin anfacadii,
Gurboodkuuu la koriyiyo hadban guuf ku tuuriyo
Gasiinkooda siin jirey Garab daarra ku lahaa
Galabba kuu ka madhan yahay Gocoshiyo xusuusba leh
Gaar ahaan barbaartuu Gashi inuu ka bixiyiyo
Badhuu dibadda geeiyo Shaqo lagu gufeeyaba
Gunna iyo ogaal iyo U gargaaridoodii
Gocoshiiyo xasusba leh
Goortii aad aragtaba Guutadii ku xeerrayd
Googooska sheekada Siduu uga godlinayiyo
Haasaawe gdobiyo Gujo iyo turxaan wadan
Siduu ugu gedbixi jiray Sheeddana ka garan jirey
Hadba kooda goolmoon Dadna ugu gudboonaa
Isagoo an kala gurin Gocoshiyo xasuusba leh
The death of a hero is felt only by the heroic. In these concluding lines, the Poet returns to God
by realizing his own mortality in this flitting world. He accelerates the pace and the stanza gets
shorter. Maybe his own transience sobers his sense of outrage at the beginning of the poem, which
is now tamed by the acceptance of his own mortality. Mohmaoud was a mortal whose good qualities like
him were transient. Yet, in a deserving salute, he addresses the deceased with a wonderful prayer
that resolves the tension.
Intaasoo gargaariyo Gobonimo u hiilkii
Gacaltooyadiisii Waxab yaanan gocanine
Haddii uu la gabax yidhi Maxamuud la galay iil,
Guulaa wedka u qoray Amba gibil dhaqaaqoo
Gilgishay damqaayee Seeftu way I guud taal.
Giddigood addoomuhu Waa geeri sugayaal
Geeddaana lagu yahay Guryihii runta ahaa
Een laga gaboobayn Galbintiis Aammiin
An ku soo gumeeyee Waxaan iga guddoontaa
Godku faala ku noqay Gogoshii Jannada iyo
Gudaheeda ku cawee Toddobaatan geeynyiyo
Gabdho xuural cayn ahi Kaa salaame gaaddada
Giddigii Islaamkaba Allhayow ha gayn naar.
Hassan Ganay's poetic image takes the reader through many years of the life of the deceased and in a
flashback takes account of his wonderful life that ends in the grave but which the Poet chooses to
resurrect by the poem itself. By eulogizing his friend, he keeps his memory alive and hops to
immortalize him. It is also wonderful to note how his own intuition tunes in with that of his
friend. It is a wonderful poem, which had taken me through a roller coaster of emotions.
The language is rich and full of poetic devices too long to discuss here. They are made more
attractive by the fact that he does not have access to the conventions accessible to a learned poet.
After all Poetry as Wordsworth advocated in 19th Century "is the distillation of powerful feeling."
I would like to start a fund drive to enable Hassan Ganay publish all his work. For comments and
further inquiry, please write to
Rhoda A. Rageh