Tuesday, July 02, 2013

And, Outside Looking In

A companion piece to last night's Cassandra, this is my daughter's late lamented Benjamin, who made plans to be an indoor cat every winter.

It's been a very strenuous day, starting out with water exercise. We plan to go to bed early. Boys that can't wait for the Fourth are shooting off intermittent fireworks into the country night.

Yesterday, I shopped the book racks at the Habitat ReStore again (despite already having books enough) while S did hot-pool therapy. Someone had bought the beach painting I was thinking of buying for a couple of weeks. Now I (sort of) wish I had.

Tonight's poem is by the renowned African poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. I found it on page 55 of the thrift-store copy (one of those old yellowed Penguins) of Modern Poetry from Africa (1963,1966.) The book gives no information about sources or translations, but I assume this is a translation from the French, the language he wrote in. Senghor was a very important African intellectual, writer, teacher and statesman. He, too, is of the generation of my father, having been born in the same year, 1906.

All Day Long

All day long, over the long straight rails
Like an inflexible will over the endless sands
Across parched Cayor and Baol where the baobabs twist their arms in  torment
All day long, all along the line
Past the same little stations, past black girls jostling like birds at the gates of schools
All day long, sorely rattled by the iron train and dusty and hoarse
Behold me seeking to forget Europe in the pastoral heart of Sine!

Even though this is a translation, it carries the rhythm of a railroad journey. It can be read aloud in one straight pass, moving right along along the rails.
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