Cote d’Ivoire: If You Could | Assamala Amoi

If you could leave when work was done

Like the sun at the end of its day;

If you could arrive like the day and the night

At an hour chosen by the seasons;

If you could hear the farewells like the tree

Listens to the song of the migrating bird

– who would dread departures, returns and death?

.     .     .

“Si on pouvait”

Si on pouvait s’en aller à la fin de son ouvrage

Comme le soleil au terme de sa course;

Si on pouvait arriver comme le jour et la nuit

A l’heure choisie par les saisons;

Si on pouvait entendre les adieux comme l’arbre

Ecoute le chant de l’oiseau qui le quitte

Qui craindrait les départs, les retours et la mort?


Assamala Amoi was born in Paris in 1960, and lived in France with her parents until 1966. Upon her return to the Southern part of the Ivory Coast, she attended the University of Abidjan, where she graduated with a Masters in English Literature, and a Translator Certificate (French-English). From December 2000, she has worked for the World Health Organisation.

Poem culled from Zocalo Poets.

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