For this special feature on Roba Bulga
that includes an interview and clips from the movie
Jeans and Martò, the editors
of Ogina selected two of
Roba’s poems: “Taligaa” in the Oromo language and “Brother in Need” in
the English language. In his interview, Roba explains what inspired the
poems and his experience writing in the two different languages.
Oolii buliin kalee ta har`aaf burujaa
Hundumaa utubdee ta buuftu araara
Nagaa waaraa tolaa ta nuu qabdu suga
Eenyu nu dhoowate waaqamoo amala
Akkasaa wallaalleen aannuu bishuu dhaba.
Kalee achi fagoo ta dirreen tun nagaa,
Gobbu , Mataaharaa, Abaadir malkaasaa
Tamtu tam jifannaan hafuurri nu citaa?
Warri keessa beettan Manguddoon nuu himaa.
An waa hedduu hin beeku,xiqqoon baree malee
Baradhee hin doftorree abbaa seeraa hin taane
Waan natti dhaamanis bakkaan hin gahannee
Ayya aabbas siiqee waa irraa hin baranne
Takka akka boonu, tarii akka booyuu, yookanis wallaaluu,
Dadhabu balleessuu takkaayyuu ajeessee gurra’mbaa dhoowwachuu
Essaa deemaan jira, yaa Aayyo fi Aabbo maa natti hin dubbaattu?
Laakkiin na si caale kaleessa ganama
Waanuman baradheef baruumsa ammayyaa
Ta namuu wallaale galgala maayessaa
Baqa biyyaan wajjii san sii gochuu kiyyaa
Ta waliin baqatan warri biyya kaaba
Of dura na bassan aduutti na afaa
Gooroo baxxee gadii ta afaan Nogobaa
Guyyaa lafa tiyyaaf narraa haadan mataa
Guyyaa warri ulfinaa mulqaman kabaja
Wiccii faranjichaan na dheengi`an maqaa
Akkaa warra hoodaa gurri maal na dhaga`aa?
Akkuma kaleessaa gafaroo taphannaa?
Akka doorii keenyaa irratti gubaala
Ta leedota bal`aa eenyu naa tabaala
Jaarsaa jaartiin biyyaa
Ka nagaa rarragdan
Horii sa`aa namaan
Maal ka naa abbaltan
Warri biyya bulchu ka Abbootii Gadaa
Hanqifannee dhiifnee maaliif hin hanqifnu
Korbeessa ari`aaf, Kormaan maa hin qalluu,
Yoo tana shakkine: Daneen maganfannee
Abbaa biyyaa ta`uu maliif hin labsine
Taa feete haa dhuftuu ,akka lola goljaa afaan maa hin deebine
Akka aayyoon dhaamte san dubbiin hin taane,
Taliigaa,aadaadha ta kale ganamaa akka ta`uu didde
Maal yaa waaqa lafa sumatu na hin uumne
Suman na hin kalaqnee?
Anaa fi si keessaa tokkotu waakkate.
Baraan bara hanqatti akka bonaa hamaa
Hoongessee hammaatee nu dhoowwata fuula
Sa`aa nama maraan abarasaa buusaa
Dararama jiruu ta hinqabne dheengaa
Hundaafuu waa hin hille xiqqaaf guddaa maraa
Jireenya abbaa ajjeessee ilmaafis hin hillee
Xurreen jireenyaa tun ta hundaafuu gallee
Tokko lamaaf malee hundaafuu hin qajeelle
Hammaattee fagaannaan ta si buuftu qilee
Naatoo fi marartee jaarsa, jaartiif `joollee
Jirreenyuma kana ka hundaafuu hin laafne
Waraan reeffa dhalchee
Ka abiddi daaraa
Jireenyi kanumaa maayessi saa deegaa
Yoo tolte durummaa sunuu akka falaa
Bara tokko ture gaafa`boon laajimaa
Ka dirreen tun quufa fi cirriffannaa
Guyyaa aadaan jirtu ta daneen danboobaa
Gaafa goodaan jirtu dhaaddattu abada
Tuujii saba keenyaaf ta taatu bayima
Tuni marti guca kaleessaa fi har`aa
Ilmi olguddatu tana baruu qaba.
Anuu maalin baree yoo tana hin beekkanne
Ilaalee fageessee ta dhuftu yoon tase
Totorra`ee taa`ee yoon yaadaan dulloome
Eenyuufan abdiidha tiyyaa`uu wallaalee
Hirbuu abboon himu yoon irraan barannee
Qabaa na dhoowwatti bitaa mirgaan weellee
Abuurama dhugaa akka narra hin`laallee
Brother in Need
in commemoration of Jiloo Bulga
My brother in need
Wish you could hear me a little bit
As if we hated each other
Why do you leave me alone?
How did they attack you?
And how did they kill you?
Where are you buried?
What were you entrusted to
Who did burry you?
How come only I failed to...
Did I lack the wisdom to believe your pass away...
Am still unconvinced..
Not believing your death
Though no one is sure about the time,
Everybody is sure that "the Adal" are always there to fight
We are born to die and sure of it,
Yet enjoy our short life span
Can't get ready for death, owing to not knowing when
Can't say good bye to the beloved,
Can’t confess to one's society ..just pass unexpected
This how death is and its coincidence...
Laying it to the left and
Turning to the right…
Moving here and there, now and then...then let go…
Lastly cry, yell and immersed in bitter sorrow
Like a spark of flame (does to ones fingers)
So does sorrow to the hearts
Stepping in each village and knocking every one's door...
Like the guests of "waataa"...
That’s what death is!
So what else can I say (or how else can I express it?)
My true brother in need...
I lost you where as your sacrifice is not in vain...
You overtook for bad amongst the crowd...
I can't take the role of the creator (to let it not have happened)
Wish if I could reverse the rule of nature
I didn't even have the chance to mitigate the incidence
Confront it and help you with what I could
Let alone to get your life saved.
Being a disgrace
So that I can't bear it up,
For you are more than that
And what worsens me off
Is I did not see your body,
& not been on your grave,
Unlucky to attend.
I did not overcome the duty of brotherhood either
By making "sadaqaa"(slaughtering cattle for funeral ceremony)
And did not succeed your wives,
As our customary law abides us to
I followed not the way used to be,
But the way it came to be...
Schooling to plough my brain
Of which means is limitless
And the fruit is endless
Be it helpful or harmful.
And that made me coward,
Denying me of courage to retaliate...
I just talk and murmur..
Think day and night,
Worry to blur my thoughts,
Neither vigil myself nor able to wake up others
Unlike my father, nor my custom...???
That made me to leap and leap...
Yet, my beloved brother....
I promise you one thing
Though you hear me not
I promise to care of your children
And to support your wives
That I would promise
With all I posses
And all that I will have...
I promise to raise them.
I swear not to disregard
This holy unbreakable oath
So, we partake what we have
Or face hardships in one
And live together in harmony
Yes we do, if God will it..
You are irreplaceable (No one had helped me so much you did when you
As to my determination... I would have gone far....
It’s due to your brotherly dedication
That I became not a disgrace to my father...my father's reputation is
The day I died while alive
And you inherited me in presence
What later come to be an exemplary for the society?
And you secured my honor
You sheltered my sunny journey,
And let me keep on going
Though unfortunate it is that you are not there to rejoice the end of my
That we departed not to meet again
Separated not to share feelings ever...
May God's peace be up on you
Dearly brother rest in peace!
was born in the Fantalle region of Oromia and currently works in Addis
Ababa for Slow Food International.