Do you still remember this common Yoruba poem in the 80s which is usually used to caution, teach and admonish children?

One of the poems composed by a prolific Yoruba writer, JF Odunjo is “Ise logun Ise “, which goes thus:

Ise l’ogun ise                                     (Work is the antidote for poverty)

Mura s’ise ore mi                             (Work hard, my friend)

Ise la fi n’deni giga                          (Work/Labour is the major tool for elevation)

Bi a ko ba reni feyin ti                    (If we do not have anyone to lean on)

Bi ole la’nri                                       (We appear indolent)

Bi a ko ba reni gbekele                   (If we do not have anyone to support us)

A tera mo’se eni                              (We simply work harder)

Iya re le lowo lowo                         (Your mother might be rich)

Baba re le lesin lekan                    (Your father may have a stable full of horses)

Bi o ba gbo’ju lewon                      (If you rely on them)

O te tan ni mo so fun o                 (You are close to shame and disgrace, I tell you)

Ohun ti a ko ba ji’ya fun               (Whatever one does not work hard to earn)

Se kii le pe lowo                             (Usually does not last)

Ohun ti a ba fara sise fun            (Whatever gain one seriously labours for)

Nii pe lowo eni                              (Usually lasts with one)

Apa lara                                          (Your arm is kin)

Igunpa niyekan                            (The elbow is a sibling)

B’aye ba n’fe o loni                      (If the world loves you today)

Bi o ba lowo lowo                         (If you have money)

Aye a ma fe o lola                         (The world will still love you tomorrow)

Tabi ki o wa ni’po atata              (Or if you are in a prestigious position)

Aye a ma ye o si terinterin         (The world will celebrate you with smiles)

Je k’o de’ni tin rago                    (Wait till you become poor)

Aye a ma yinmu si o                   (The world will grimace at you)

Eko si’nso ni d’oga                       (Education also elevates one to higher positions)

Mura ki o ko dara dara               (Ensure that you acquire it well)

Bi o si r’opo eniyan                     (And if you see a lot of people)

Ti won f’eko s’erin rinrin           (Making a mockery of education with laughter)

Dakun ma f’ara we won             (Please do not emulate or keep their company)

Iya n’bo fun’omo ti ko gbon      (Suffering beckons for the unwise child)

Ekun n’be fun’omo to nsa kiri  (Tears are due for the truant child)

Ma f’owuro sere ore mi             (Do not toy with your early years)

Mura si’se ojo’nlo                       (Work hard; time waits for no one)

It is, however, disheartening that the present generation does not have an idea of what the poem is all about and statistics showed that the little percentage that has heard about it does not know the interpretation and its real-life application, hence there is the need to preserve our culture.  

Culled /Oluwayemisi Owonikoko/Adebukola Aluko/Taiwo Akinola

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