In the past, I posted the Victorian poem “My Mother” written by Ann Taylor. Ann was the sister of Jane Taylor the author of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. It turns out that 2 verses of this poem are sung by children in Cameroon, Africa as a song.
I posted the poem My Mother in the past for Mother’s Day. So it seemed fitting to post this song now, given that it’s so close to Mothers Day all around the world. It’s usually celebrated in May.
Here are the lyrics that are sung in Cameroon:
Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed
And tears of sweet affection shed
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
Nyango M. Nambangi sent me this song with the following comments:
Who sat and watched my infant head, when sleeping on my cradle bed, etc. is from a poem titled: “My Mother”. I do remember that we used the “Oxford English Reader” growing up and that is why many of the nursery rhymes and poems I remember are so British and some with African tunes. I think the version (of My Mother) in our Oxford/Longman’s readers/primers had fewer verses and these two were the ones we all remembered and sang.
Children sing all the time (in Cameroon), while playing, while fetching water or washing dishes, baby-sitting their younger siblings, etc. As children, we are encouraged to sing by our parents, teachers, etc. Children are also adept at making up songs to suit the situation, such as the victory songs I sent you about winning games – some of those are distinct children compositions.
And the “Three Gypsies” song, we sang it because the English Primers we used in Primary and Secondary schools in the English-speaking part of Cameroon, had these as poems in them. These were British/Oxford Printing Press primers and poems like “The Keeper did a-shooting go, and under his cloak he carried a bow…” became songs we sang as children.
I asked Nyango if this song is sung for Mothers Day or as a lullaby. Here’s what she replied:
Yes, by all means, it is appropriate for Mother’s Day. Seeing that it is a Victorian poem, I guess… we sometimes use it as a lullaby.
Thanks for sharing this with us Nyango and for singing the song for us! Nyango Melissa Nambangi works for the Minnesota African Women’s Association and grew up in Cameroon.
Check out Mama Lisa’s World’s Cameroon Song Pages for more songs from Cameroon!
Enjoy and Happy Mothers Day!
This article was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 12:09 pm and is filed under Ann Taylor, Cameroon, Cameroonian Children's Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, Mother's Day Poems, Mothers Day, Mothers Day Songs, MP3's, My Mother, Poems, Poets, Recordings, Recordings of Poems, Recordings of Songs, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
3 Responses to “The Victorian Poem “My Mother” is Sung in Cameroon, Africa as a Childrens Song!”
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January 23rd, 2012 at 4:35 am
This song helps me to love my mother the moor,i love her like mad
January 22nd, 2016 at 1:37 pm
Thank you mama Lisa for what you are doing. Kudos!
I am a Nigerian, I’d really appreciate if you give the french translation of the victorian poem, ‘My Mother’.
Awaiting your response.
January 22nd, 2016 at 8:21 pm
We have part of My Mother poem in French here.
PS Would you like to share a traditional song or rhyme from Nigeria with us? We’d love it!