Hawa Abdullahi Farah

“And any man who knows a thing knows
He knows not a damn, damn thing…” – Knaan

So don’t be fooled!
I see the sympathetic looks in your eyes
Can’t you see beyond this disguise?
I walked for 15 days… 15 days
I buried 8 children along the way
But I walked on.

So don’t insult me!
I hear the hushed whispers of your thoughts
“This poor fragile woman”
But God made me strong!
Ask yourself, 
Could you have come this far, persevered this long?

Or would you have broken down in the dirt
Too overcome by the pain, the hurt
As you bury your son
Kiss his sweet face
Before returning his body to God’s earth?
Would you have wailed to the heavens
Paralysed in your place
Watching him disappear without a trace
As the dirt engulfs his body, limbs, face?

Or would you have offered prayers to the Most High
Placed your trust, in the Most Just
Remembering your nine other children
And how for them, you must walk on
No matter how far, how long
Because God made you Strong!

I reach for you
I ask for your hand
But, you misunderstand.
God made me strong
I have come too far, persevered too long,
So put away your sympathies
Rather, recognise these strengths in me
And understand, when I ask for your hand
I am asking you to build on what I already have
I am asking you to enable my capabilities
I am asking you to feed my soul, my mind
As I push forward, leaving the past behind

As I walk on.


Video Performance

Raihanaty A Jalil performing “Hawa Abdullahi Farah” at Rajo Fundraiser Dinner on 15 July 2012, a poem she wrote specifically for the night. The beginning of the video intends to give the poem context.

This poem is based on the true story of Hawa Abdullahi Farah. If you like my writing and want to follow my journey, join Rai’s Insiders.

Author: Raihanaty A. Jalil

Raihanaty A Jalil writes poetry and fiction and has been on a panel during Perth Festival Writers Week 2019. She has performed a reading of her work at the Wheeler Centre Melbourne during the Digital Writers’ Festival 2019. She currently sits on the board for Centre for Stories.