South Sudan: Child cry of war | Onam Liduba

I was found along the road side in open ash air
I grew like a child of leach
No mother and no father
I feed on bitter leaves and roots in the desert
I stay in rain and hot sun for fear
Are all children in the same condition?
No, a child elsewhere enjoys the calm blue sky
And the love of his parents
A fox has a den and a bird has nest
But the child of war has nowhere to lay his head
For fear of bombs and bullets in southern Sudan
O God lift up this child of war



Onam Liduba was born in  Southern Sudan. Displaced by the war, he lived in different refugee camps where he attended and then taught secondary school classes. In 2000, Liduba was granted asylum by the U.S., and in 2001, he was sent to Chicago where earned multiple degrees. In 2007, Liduba founded a non-profit organization called the Pari People Project to build a clinic and to provide school supplies for students in the Lafon area of Sudan.

Algeria: Prison Bestiaries | Jean Senac

I love you that’s true I love you that’s false
crows on my tongue
wage war with swallows
we’ve got blackness inside our backs

But if one day the beloved
or the beauty comes along
we find our spinning tops again
sunlight scars the water

All around the air thins
we throw a shovel
of earth on the thighs
the ivy comes into focus

Migratory pleasures
you bequeath to the heart
decaying nymphs
and we go on living
gropingly under the waves
like crayfish

I love you
for you I write poems
to stop thinking
drunk on images
I invent margins
to prolong you

If I had at least
your name to speak
o my unknown my madwoman of the streets
honored in my veins
like a king by his empire

My needle of gold missing in the hay!



JEAN SÉNAC (1926-1973) was an Algerian poet who wrote about the fight for Algerian independence in French. This poem was translated from French by Justin Vicari.


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.