(for Daniel Bourdanné)
I wanted to be overcome with silence
I abandoned the woman I love
I closed myself to the bird of hope
That invited me to climb the branches
Of the tree, my double
I created havoc in the space of my garden
I opened up my lands
I found the air that circulates between the panes
Pleasant. I was happy
To be my life’s witch doctor
When the evening rolled out its ghosts
The bird in me awoke again
Its cry spread anguish
In the heart of my kingdom.
Nimrod Bena Djangrang was born in Koyom, in the south of Chad in 1950. Originally a teacher of French, history, geography and philosophy in Chad and the Ivory Coast, Nimrod has published poems and short stories in various periodicals such as Cargo, Mâche-Laurier and Revue Noire.
Translations from French into English by Patrick Williamson
The African Book Review is posting a poem from each of Africa’s 55 countries over the next few weeks. Poem suggestions can be sent through the comments form below. ‘Like’ us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to read all the poems.