Elmi Bodheri and his romance era by Abdi Ahmed Digale (Digale) 28-04-09

Briefly discussing his biography, Elmi Ismail Liban( Bodheri) was born almost in 1908 in the northwest region of Somalia, he particularly belonged to Hargeisa city, and genealogically the descendents and ancestors of his family are known amongst Somali tribes. He became well known and prominent figure in the Somali territory as his miraculous and wonderful story was profoundly narrated in Somali literature, educational syllabus and traditional folk dance. His literary work contribution to Somali literature is taught in schools while many Somali great poets employ his masterpiece words in their literary expressions.

He had been attributed to be the king of the love; if his name is sounded every body will automatically think of love, he was a young, handsome, poet, thoughtful man with rich wisdom and intellectuality. his poetic wisdom was inspired by tragic and horrific situation of his love with hodan, Bodheri took most of lifetime in Berbera city where he worked in a bakery shop, during his employment and working days he was a trustful person with good moral and virtue performing his duties as well as pious. Naturally, in this cosmos no doubt that some sensational episodes emerge amongst the society which may leave everlasting narration of that impressive incident as well as Bodheris exciting event.
While working in a bakery in Berbera city, a young lady of extraordinary beauty named Hodan entered into the bakery with the intention of buying some bread. As the history narrates Hodan was a graceful, polite and pleasant woman belonging to a rich family, she lived in Berbera city particularly a sector called Daaroole, she greeted him with this phrase “good morning” then he immediately fell in love with Hodan generating and composing inheritance and lofty poems to disclose his passion for Hodan. He fell in love around 1937 and expressed emotion and desire of the love with the woman in many poems which were recorded and available in Somali literatures. Moreover, during his romance era he extremely faced a lot of disturbances and disappointments because the society of that age traditionally would not accept if the man declared his love openly, he would have not contacted any woman or express his feelings and the desire of passion without permission.

His romantic poems became extremely popular and are recited by heart by many Somalis even today, also this episode is compared with the Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy story written by playwright William Shakespeare about two young star lovers which is based on Italian tale in 1562, and also Qeys and Leyla ..On the other hand,the family of Hodan was some times disappointed with his poems concerning Hodan because in accordance with the culture and customs of the Somali tribes lived in that period it was not possible for them to deal with the love openly.Anyhow, Bodheri struggled to handle and manage a marriage to Hodan but misfortunately the lucky was not with him, though he tried to meet her so as to persuade his feelings but he failed to do so. On the other hand some people told that he did not interact with the lady (shukaansi) but he loved the way she looked.
As, it was narrated he finally got opportunity to see her, he was informed that she would be visiting a neighbor house, then waiting for her anxiously he fell asleep unconsciously and got up while she went back to her residence and after hearing that news he was bitterly disappointed and broken heart. He abandoned asleep, drink and eating, he began sending messages to her through poems inspired by his tragic tale of love, also it happened that to send Bodheri to Burco inorder to recover from tension and reduce the passion for her but he returned a year later and developed the same affection. as narrated he met Hodan once at a wedding party in Berbera and displayed her about his desire where she did not give any negative expression.Moreover, his friend, family and relatives encouraged him to forget Hodan but he refused and was not interested in other woman rather than Hodan. I have taken down here some significant lines from his poems,

Hadhka galay hurdadu wey xuntee hohe maxay seexshay
Bal inaan habaar qabo maxaa hodan iweydaarshay
Asleep at the midd day is evil, oh why did I fall asleep
Unless Iam cured, why I missed Hodan

In his love period, he left behind extraordinary poems which are currently used by musician as they want to compose music and dance; moreover his strong emotion towards Hodan took him into critical condition composing romantic poems which move the heart of the reader any body who hears, while this strange story attracts the emotion of the people and some times it creates sadness in the minds of the people,hence Bodheri develop the tension and his soul had melt in the air as he heard that Hodan was married to another man. No doubt that such powerful passion for a woman may drive every body to horrible atmosphere, thus Bodheri was upset and lost the patience. Later on, his clan, family and relatives became very worried about his diving life into ocean, they brought five young and tremendously beautiful women to him, and the top parts of the women were uncovered to show him some of their sensitive organs of their upper bodies. He was asked to select one of these five beautiful girls to save his life but rejected to do so.
While watching closely the beautiful ladies standing before him, he composed a wonderful poem and I took some lines from that.

Haddii ay qurux waxtari, oo lagu qaboobaayo
Aniguba khadraan soo arkiyo, qaararkii hodane
Eebahay inaanu idin qatalin, qariya laabtiina
If beauty could do some thing, and soothes the soul
I have already seen, khadra and shoulders of Hodan
Before Allah judges you, cover your chests

As, it was narrated Hodan used to feel sad when she saw his poems and people criticizing her for not helping him to save him from tragic life. Some reported that he was persuaded to marry to another woman belonged to Yaman but he did not maintain the life with her longer, finally Bodheri died in 1947, his body was buried in Berbera city, so he died of broken heart. Many visitors from different countries visit his grave at (Botallaale)


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