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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Fruits" from Rabearivelo's "Almost-Dreams"

"Fruits" from Rabearivelo's "Almost-Dreams"


You may choose
among the fruits of the perfumed season;
but this is what I will show you:
two plump mangos
where you may suck the sun melted within.
Which will you take?
This one, as double and firm
 as the breasts of a young girl,
and which is acid?
Or that one, pulpy and sweet as honey?
One will be only passionate delights, 
but will have no offspring
and will be covered by the grass.
The other,
a spring gushing from the rock,
will refresh your throat
and then become a vault full of echos in your courtyard,
and those who come after you will gather there fragments of the sun.

About the poet:
As someone who has always been drawn to the French Romantic poets, Rabearivelo strikes a chord with me.  As African poets go he's an obscure despite laying claim to the unofficial title as "Africa's first modern poet."
He died by suicide, in 1937 having lived his entire life on what was then the French pastoral colony of Madagascar (he was prohibited by the authorities from leaving the island).

Other Madagascar Posts:

Some of my favorite poetry books:

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