Song for a Mpoi

If you wish to walk for long in the forest
And to feel your heart strong,
Your breast swell sturdily,
And your legs run quickly,
Friend, grill on the charcoal,
On the red coals of a burning fire,
The Won with the cruel teeth.
The carp with the thousand colors
And the delicate firm flesh.

And if you wish for calm sleep
To come softly and close your eyelids,
For joyful dreams, messengers from the dead,
To run and hunt at happy hunting,
To the friendly place, where in the dark forest,
The quick boar crouches near the stream,
And in the clearing among the peppermints
The fast antelope pricks up his ears,
Friend, in the leaves with which you are surrounded,
Friend, bake the Ngol.

But if you wish for your heart
To be glad without regret,
For your belly, sated and full,
To say: “Oh! Oh! that’s enough!
Oh! Oh! I have eaten well!”
If you wish that your swollen belly
Should resist the finger that gladly presses it,
And sound under your hand like a stretched tom-tom,
A tom-tom of skin stretched to the utmost,
If you wish that your belly should sing a glad song,
Friend, take a Mpoi, friend, eat a Mpoi!

Gabon Pygmy Song