Ise Logun ise Poem + Complete English Translation

Ise Logun Ise (Work is the antidote for poverty) poem.

Ise Logun ise is an indigenous Yoruba poem and it was written and composed by J.F. Odunjo of Iwe Alawiye in 1943.

I loved numerous Yoruba poems when I was a little child in primary school, including this one. It is among my best poetry to date.

In my second or third year of primary school, I can recall repeating it with my classmates, generally in the afternoons. It was intended to instill in kids the value of perseverance. I believe it also teaches adults the importance of labor dignity.

Additionally, it instills in children the futility of relying on others, including parents, relatives, or friends.

It teaches that putting in a lot of effort can overcome poverty.

It exhorts readers to make the most of their “early years,” which the Yorubas describe to as “the morning,” and avoid wasting time.

Additionally, the poem is clear about the consequence of a lackadaisical approach to life.

It is, in my opinion, a summons to live your life purposefully. It is important to be consistent and to go forward without looking back. Making money while the sun is shining is the goal. It is realizing that even though you may start out tiny, the future is brighter. Your experience and adventure are priceless, even when the chances are against you.

Therefore, if you are diligent in your work, keep it up because the rewards will follow. If not, pay attention to the poetry and concentrate.

I recently develop the effort to translate it into English. It came to me that it should be made available for everyone to read because it not only has great material but also depicts the entire value we lost in dignity.

I have added some of my own translation where necessary to make the poem more relevant.

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]

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