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

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 ?

Poète, écrivain, dramaturge nigérian. Prix Nobel de Littérature