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Ethiopiques n°61
revue négro-africaine
de littérature et de philosophie
2e semestre 1998
de la l’Anthologie
de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache
de langue française
de Léopold Sédar Senghor

Auteur : Wole SOYINKA [1]

The children of this land are old
Their eyes are fIxed on maps in place of land
Their feet must learn to follow
Distant contours traced by alien minds
Their present sense had faded into pasto

The children of this land are proud
But only seeming so. They tread on air but
Take note - the land it was that fIrst withdrew
From touch of love their bare feet offered, Once,
It was the earth of their belonging,
Their pointed chins are aimed,
Proud seeming, at horizons fIlled with crows,
The clouds are swarms of locusts.

The children of this land grow the largest eyes
Within head sockets. Their heads are crowns
On neat fIsh spines, whose meat has passed
Through swing doors to the chill of conversation
And chilled wine. But the eyes stare dead.
They pierce beyond the present through dim passages
Across the world of living.

These are the offspring of the dispossessed,
The hope and land deprived. Contempt replaces
Filial bonds. The children of this land
Are castaways in holed crafts all tortoise skin
And scales - the callous of their afterbirth,
Their hands are c1awed for rooting their tongues.
Propagate new social codes and laws,
A new race will supercede the present
Where love is banished stranger, lonely
Wanderer in forests prowled by lust,
on feral pads power.
Where love is a hidden, ancient ruin, crushed
By memory. in this present
Robbed of presence.

But the children of this land embrace the void
As lovers. The spores of their conjunction move
To people once human spaces, stepping nimbly
Over ghosts of parenthood,. The children of this land
Are robed as judges, their gaze rejects
All measures of the pasto A gleam
Invades their dead eyes briefly, lacerates the air
But with in on sole demand :
Who sold our youth ?

[1] Poète, écrivain, dramaturge nigérian. Prix Nobel de Littérature

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