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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rabearivelo's "Zebu" from Almost Dreams

Rabearivelo's "Zebu" from Almost Dreams


Arched like the towns of Imerina
prominent on the hills,
or hewn like the gables
sculpyed by the moon on the earth
look! the powerful bull--
scarlet like the color of his blood

He has drunk at the river banks,
he has grazed on cactus and lilac;
look how he crouches before the manioc
still heavy with the scent of the earth,
and before the rice straw
smelling strongly of sun and shadow.

Evening has deepened everywhere,
there is no more horizon,
and the bull sees a desert extending
to the frontiers of night
His horns are like a crescent
that rises.

Desert, desert,
desert before the powerful bull
that has gone astray with the evening
in the kingdom of silence,
what do you evoke in his somnolence?
Is it his kind that have no hump
and that are red like the dust
scattered at their passing,
they, the masters of uninhabitated lands?
Or his ancestors fattened by the peasants
and led to town, adorned with ripe oranges,
to be slaughtered in honor of the King?

He leaps, he bellows,
he who will die without glory,
then sleeps again, waiting,
and he seems like a hump of the earth.

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