I wrote another poem for one of the topics in the Balafong Magazine Poetry Challenge. What better moment to write about homesickness than when it’s hitting the hardest? Yet, not every feeling can be translated into words; not every emotion can be transformed into rhymes to make up a poem. Apologies to my readers who’ll not understand the Wolof lines. They’re basically relaying the same message as the English lines. 


Olof yi neh ku tuki woul dor ham fi deka nekheh
Waayeh deka bu nekh wessu woul fima jogeh
Ndah fii ma neka, suma hol dufi seddeh
Door, daan, nyefeh, ngirr nyaaka peheh
Hol bu jeh, deka chi worr, di tumurankeh
Delor ma keur yaaye, fofa la deka neheh

It’s in the simple things that make home what it is
Ma diko fatehliku, diko nama, suma hol guene di tiis
It’s in Mother’s love, in her affection, her presence
Still reaching out across the miles to ease my absence
It’s in the news that come with every phone call
A birth, a death, seye bu tass , a birral

Olof dehlu neh ku tuki nyu rerr sa ganaww
Mu faateh che boleh ndeki, anj ak njogonal
Teranga yeup di nyow chi sa ganaww
Nyu di la tuda, di la nyaanal, yeup ngirr baahantal
Nga deka chi mugne, di jefo lila Yalla meye
Di jayme mu nuro ak linga baayi keur ndeye

You try to recreate tastes, sounds and feelings
Hopeless attempts at making yourself feel at home
You’re left in despair as each experiment falls short
Wishing for a benachin with a taste of gayja
The sound of mosquitoes, if only for one night
Even the constant electricity pisses you off

Ndah Olof dafa neh itam, roye du nurok piir
Nasaraan bi neh home is where the heart is
My heart stays yearning for the day I go back
Even though home is now full of pains to cause much unrest
It will always be where my life holds great meaning
Tuki tahut deka guenal ma fi ma jogeh


11 thoughts on “Homesickness

  1. livelytwist

    I understand homesickness a little. Because technology bridges distance, the ache I would otherwise feel is dull, distant. Btw, the constant electricity does not piss me off 🙂


    1. linguerebi Post author

      Ah, we thank God for technology. Sometimes I wonder how the pre-tech generation coped away from home, communicating only with the occasional letter, which takes an eternity to reach its destination and elicit a reply.
      There are still gaps that technology hasn’t managed to fill yet, and I find myself constantly missing home and counting down to the day I go back. Until then, I’ll appreciate what I have at hand and know it could have been worse.


      1. livelytwist

        Touch, skin on skin, technology hasn’t bridged that . . .yet.
        But letters then were long and sweet, words then carried more weight than emoticons do today, and sometimes accessibility fueled by technology has cheapened anticipation . . . I should write a blog post . . .
        Yes, where were we? Homesickness. I feel you now 🙂


      2. linguerebi Post author

        Okay. I’ll just wait for that blog post, coz I know you have so much more to say, being away for almost a decade and all. 🙂


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