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from the May 2021 issue

Say to the Tomb

Dites à la tombe

Poet Bios Diallo connects Mauritania’s struggle to form a united national identity with similar conflicts elsewhere on the continent.

Say to the tomb, without pride
Here the poem ends
Here identities, prayers bleed
And, look
Here also the nation is reborn


And since a country has but one language
That of its future, of its people
            I will brandish my own
                        Though full of holes


And since we won’t exile ourselves
Or harm our land
I will be, for my nation
The eternal shepherd.

From La Saigne, published 2021 by Obsidiane. © 2021 by Bios Diallo. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2021 by Emma Ramadan. All rights reserved. 

Dites à la tombe

Dites à la tombe, sans orgueil
Là finit le poème
Là saignent les identités, les prières
Et, voyez
Là aussi renaît la Nation

Et puisqu’un pays n’a qu’une langue
Celle de son avenir, de son peuple
              Je sortirai la mienne
                             Même perforée

Et puisqu’on ne s’exile
Ne blesse sa terre
Je serai, pour ma Nation
Le berger éternel

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