FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poet of the Week from Senegal: Senghor

Poet of the Week from Senegal: Senghor

This is based on Mofolo's fictionalized retelling of the Chaka story (in real life his wife outlived him) but it's supposed to demonstrate his willingness to sacrifice love for the sake of his country (and also his heartlessness)...regardless a graphic and well-written poem by Senegal's first president.


The weakness of the heart is holly...
Ah! You think that I never loved her
My Negress fair with palmoil, slender as a plume
Thighs of a starlet otter, of Kilimanjaro snow
Breasts of mellow rice-fields, hills of acacias
under the East Wind.

Noliwe with her arms of boas, lips of the adder
Noliwe, her eyes were constellations there is no
need of moon or drum
But her voice in my head and the feverous pulse
of the night…

Ah! You think that I never loved her!
But these long years, this breaking on the wheel
of the years, this carcan strangling every act
This long night without sleep I wandered like a
mare from the Zambezi, running and rushing at the

Gnawed by a nameless suffering, like the
leopards in the trap.
I would not have killed her if I had loved her less.
I had to escape from doubt
From the intoxication of the milk of her mouth,
from the throbbing drum of the night of my blood
From my bowels of fervent lava, from the uranium
mines of my heart in the depths of my Blackness
From love of NoliweFrom the love of my black skinned People.

Past Poets of the Week:

Some of my favorite poetry books:

No comments:

Post a Comment