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The Bodu-Singa man

Composed on 1 April 1992

The Bodu-Singa Man

Zechariah was his name

Kaleyfaanu his title – I was his fan.

Tall over six feet

You seldom meet

Such a man in a Malé Street

Sarong "half mast"

His gaze downcast

Striding distances vast.

In the King’s entourage

He looked like a Mirage

Or, perhaps, an al-Haaj.

To me it seemed at two feet-eight

He could muster the might

Of Singa, the Lion in a fight.

Powerful as a Portuguese Cannon

He could beat the makers of the Gun

And would be second to none.

Like Gulliver against Lilliput sky

He appeared to me a mast high

As boats on the horizon passed by.

And that was my childhood Bodu-Singa Man

Of whom I sing in this strain

Now as a grown man.

Author’s Annotation: "Bodu-Singa Man" literally means "Big-Lion Man", in Maldivian idiom it means an exceptionally huge man. Zechariah Hassan Kaleyfan was that man. He was an officer in the entourage of Sultan Hassan Nooreddine II, and lived in the narrow street to the south of our family's house in Male.

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