Poem: “The Somalia That Once Was and Will Be” Blog

My grandmother was snatched by a lion’s mouth while wrapped up in a goat’s skin

Luckily she slipped away from within

This was told to me through oral tradition

A poet nation’s rendition


My name is written in the Somali red sand.

My roots fixed in Puntland

Where the remnants of my ancestors stand


Where the livestock sit under the frankincense trees

Refreshed by the Indian Ocean’s breeze

I smell the aroma of the uunsi

I taste the purity of the caano

My late awoowe told his story

The colonialists came with their self-proclaimed glory

Forgetting that our most powerful weapon is our tongue.

And from our words the whole nation sprung


Xamar was the Indian Ocean’s white pearl

Africa’s horn… its shell

A place tourists wished to dwell


Fast forward in time

The pearl was stolen

The shell broken…

By deliberate measures

That illegally fished out our sea’s treasures

But showed the world pirates

That exploited our resources

But showed the world riots


Western ships dumped their waste

The water left people sick and displaced

Droughts and drones we faced


I saw the elders lift their pens.

And try to make amends

But their voices for peace are seldom heard.

Diplomacy proven absurd


Their words twisted

Their names listed

The blame was all on tribalism

Any form of retaliation to oppression equated to terrorism

Any form of exploitation in the guise of ‘democracy’…heroism


Hear my voice.

I am a part of the diaspora

It wasn’t our choice

But we are healing


Returning home



My grandmother was in the lion’s mouth

She lived to tell the story

And so will we.

For the Somalia that once was and will be.

Idil Musa is a senior BSN student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She enjoys writing critical poetry on social justice issues and geopolitics.


  1. Amazing poem Idil!! I really enjoyed it

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