Do you still remember the Ise Logun Ise poem we sang during our days as secondary and primary school students (mostly for those who attended schools in the western parts of Nigeria)?
It is still very much alive in modern-day Nigeria and has been the major driving force of many adults in the country. This particular poem has so many meaningful words of wisdom attached to it.
Ise Logun ise is an indigenous Yoruba poem and it was written and composed by J.F. Odunjo of Iwe Alawiye in 1943.
Read this poem side by side with a complete English translation of each line.
Ise Logun ise Poem + Complete Translation in English
Ise Logun ise – [Work is the only antidote for poverty]
Mura si se re, ore mi – [So my dear friend, you have to work hard]
Ise la fi ndeni giga – [Hard-work is the only key to success]
Bi a ko ba reni fehin ti – [When one has no helper]
Bi ole la ri – [It’s like we are lazy]
Bi a ko ba reni gbekele – [When there is no human to put our hopes on]
A te ra mo se ni – [You’d better focus more on your work]
Iya re le lowo lowoh – [Your mother might be so wealthy]
Baba re le lesin lekan – [Your father might own many mansions and estates]
Ti o ba gbojule won – [But if you solely rely on these things]
O te tan ni mo so fun o – [You should be ready to be a loser]
Apa lara igupa ni ye kan – [Your immediate family is like the arm, while your extended family is like the elbow]
B’aiye ba fe o loni [If you are loved by the people of the world now]
Ti o ba lowo lowo, won a tun fe o lola [When you are still rich, they will love you tomorrow]
Abi ko wa nipo atata – [If you are highly placed in the society or have a lot of money]
Aiye a ye o si terin terin – [You will have many fake friends]
Je ki o deni ti ra ngo – [Should you lose your money or position,]
Ko ri bi won ti nyin mu si o – [These friends will become very scarce]
Iya mbe fomo ti ko gbon – [There is always suffering for a foolish child]
Ekun mbe fomo ti nsare kiri – [There is sorrow for a child who has no plan or vision for the future]
Mafowuro sere ore mi – [Don’t waste your youthful days, my friend]
Mura sise ojo nlo. – [Work hard and plan now for the night is coming]