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Poem: The Song of the Women of My Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay Summary And Past Questions

Poem: The Song of the Women of My Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay Summary And Past Questions; This poem is necessary for students who are sitting for the following examinations and should be studied so as to stand a chance of passing the exams. JAMB, WAEC, NECO, GCE.

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Like a sculptor chipping away at bits of wood,

Time chisels away bits of their


It strips away lyrics of the song of  the women of my land

Leaving only a fading tune echoing the song,

they sang in the forlorn fields

about their lives songs

of how they ploughed the terrain of their landscape

for memories of lyrics lost in the vast void of time,

in those days when a song behold their souls,

and dereliction decapitated the epic of their lives.

With a song, they sponged off  their anguish,

to behold their collective pain,

to celebrate  their gains,

give lyrics to the tune of their lives

cheat the tyranny of time

and commune with the yet unborn

to give meaning to an epoch lost in antiquity,

Yet time strips the lyrics and scars the tune,

leaning a dying song.


Like the woman who died long ago

Leaving the song to tell them of their lives.

Today, the tune roams the forlorn fields

Like their souls looking for lyrics.

To tell the tale of the servitude

Of the women of my land

Who ploughed their soil and soul

For a song to sing the story of their lives

The song of the women of my land

left in the memory of my mind.

Now feeding the verses of poets, it echoes in

Wriggling in rhythms and melodies,

Hollering in distant tunes

In places far afield the forlorn fields,

Where the song of their lives died.

The stuttering lips of my pen

And the screeching voice of my rib

try to sing the song of the women of my land

In verses far from the theatre of toil

Where they left a song that now roams the land

Stripped of lyrics like a scorned ghost

The tune tuning the tenor of my verse 

is all that remains of  the song of the women of my


Who laboured and died leaving a dying song

The dirge of their lives.


Theme of Suffering and Endurance: Omar Farouk Sessay’s poem speaks of the unfathomable sufferings endured by his country’s women. He also praises the tenacity of these women, who used music to cope with their ordeal.

Physical labour, in particular, causes a lot of pain.

There is a reference to the period of slavery when African women were transported abroad to work on plantations for their white slave masters. These are the women who spend their days cultivating the land in the sun and rain on “the forlorn fields.”

They “ploughed their soil” to provide food for their families and society as a whole. These women of the land were sustained by the songs they sang. They bore their pain and anguish with remarkable dignity back then.

And it was through songs that they were able to bear the oppression and hardship that they had been forced to endure.

Yes, the brave women of the land, who are now in danger of being forgotten, never had much. They did, however, know how to rejoice in the small gains they made from tilling the land.

These are the qualities that the poet extols. It is about working with dignity, persevering in the face of adversity, and remaining hopeful even when all seems lost.

This bothers the poet. Despite their valiant efforts, the land’s women appear to have been forgotten. The passage of time has washed their memories away among the land’s new generation.

Theme of hope : True, the poet laments the apparent lack of interest among the current generation in the plight of these forgotten women of the land. But he also holds out hope for the future. This hope may be small, but he believes that the lines of his poetry have the power to restore and preserve the noble deeds of the land’s departed women.

The theme of hard work: Another prominent theme in The Song of the Women of My Land is hard work or industry. Much of the poem is devoted to the toils and servitude of the women. It’s about the dignity with which they continued to work in the “deserted fields.”

They sang inspirational lyrics to get the energy and motivation to keep working.

Celebration of the African woman: Omar Farouk Sesay’s Song of the Women of My Land is a celebration of the African woman.

According to the poet, the departed women of the land exemplified great qualities that the new generation should emulate. Apart from their hard work, these women exhibited other noteworthy characteristics.

The poet emphasizes their fortitude in the face of adversity. He also mentions their sense of dignity in carrying on when everything seemed to be against them. The poet appears to be advocating for the restoration of these virtues. He is willing to use his “pen” and “verse” to ensure that the bravery of the land’s dead women is not lost to posterity.

The power of music: The poem isn’t called “The Song of the Women of My Land” for nothing. It is a song dedicated to the memory of the land’s women. It is the poet’s feeble attempt to restore and preserve that memory. As a result, song or music takes centre stage in this poem.

According to the poet, the song is a powerful weapon on the lips of the African woman. When things get tough, Africans turn to music. It is not surprising, then, that the departed women of the land relied heavily on the song for inspiration as they toiled day by day.

Songs have long been recognized as a vehicle for the transmission of oral traditions. The lyrics of traditional songs mainly preserve historical records, particularly the heroic deeds of ancestors.

Without the written word, the song is one of the most dependable ways for Africans to keep their treasured traditions alive. This is why the poet is so concerned that these songs are quickly becoming obsolete. Poem: The Song of the Women of My Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay Summary And Past Questions

Theme of death and mortality: This poem makes numerous references to death and the act of dying. We can think about death on two levels. The first is human mortality, and the second is the extinction threat that threatens everything that once existed.

So, yes, the poet is emphasizing that as time passes, death draws closer to us. We will leave one day, just like the departed women of the land who were once so active in the fields. And our time, actions, and accomplishments may even pass us by. Because memories fade with time.


Metaphor: A metaphor is a comparison between two, dissimilar things that do not use the words “like” or “as” and is also present in the poem. When a poet employs this technique, he or she is saying that one thing is not the same as another. There are several instances throughout the poem where the mind and its exploration are described as ploughing a landscape, such as in lines 8 and 9.

Similes: Similes are similar to metaphors in that they are comparisons that include the words “like” or “as.” “Like a sculptor chipping away at bits of wood, /Time chisels away bits of memory,” the first two lines of the poem show.

Personification: This happens when a poet bestows human characteristics on a non-human creature or object. Line ten, for example, describes “servitude” as actively cuffing one’s ankles as if the human (a metaphor, this time for the entrapment of the soul).

Alliteration: When words are used in succession, or appear close together, and begin with the same letter, alliteration occurs. “Forlorn fields” in line five and “vast void” in line eight are two examples.

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Poem: The Song of the Women of My Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay Summary And Past Questions


This poem focuses on the plight of African women over the centuries, how their heroic deeds have gone unnoticed, and how men have oppressed them throughout the years and even in modern society.

Previously, their individual experiences combined to form a unifying, uplifting tune that helped them fight back emotionally and mentally against the oppression and slavery they were facing.

The poem describes how time has taken its toll and the song, like these women, is gradually being lost to the ages. All that remains is a tune.

The poetic personal recalls how women were subjugated and subjected to oppression and hard labour on plantations in this society and, possibly, during the slave trade.

Unfortunately, the lines of these songs, which he claims are about their lives, are rarely remembered today. As seen in lines 12-18, where the poetic persona summarizes how the women of the land warded off their collective sorrow and pain by singing “to celebrate their gains,” the time of the songs, which are a shadow of the substance, is the only thing available to the poetic persona to write about. They also sing to forget any suffering they may have witnessed over time as a result of their frustration; additionally, this song is meant to distract them from the oppression of their current situation, to reflect on the future, and to know what dreams they still foreshadow and understand their past/history.

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Lines 37-46 comment on the poet’s efforts to capture what has happened in the lives of the women. He notices that the pen’s lips stutter while his rib screeches in an attempt to sing the song of his land’s women. In other words, he finds it difficult to try to capture the story of the women in his poem because the events that make up the women’s story occurred in a place and time far removed from the present. This is because many parts of the stories about women’s subjugation and subjection were not written or discussed because there is no difference between today and yesterday.

The poem concludes in line 46 with the inference that the women’s life is indeed a dirge.


  1. Discuss the effective use of imagery in the poem

2. Discuss the moral significance of this poem.

3. Examine the poet’s mood and tone in the poem.

4. What does Sesay find fascinating about the song of the women in his land?

5. Comment on the theme of suffering in the poem.

6. Examine the use of symbolism in the poem.

7. How does Sesay use language to portray the non-permanent nature of a woman’s beauty in the poem?

8. How does the poet present the theme of getting old and dying in that poem?

9. Discuss the fading of the women’s beauty in Sesay’s land of birth

10. “It strips away lyrics of the song of the woman of my land ”

Justify this assertion with a close reference to the poem.

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