Nighth of Sine, by Leopold Sedhar Senghor

Woman, put on my forehead your balsam hands,
your hands softer than fur.
Up there, the tall palm trees swinging in the night breeze rustle hardly.
Not even the nurse’s song.
Let the rhythmic silence rock us.
Let’s listen to its song, let’s listen to the beating of our dark blood, let’s listen
To the beating-of the dark pulse of Africa in the mist of lost villages.

Look how the tired moon sinks towards its bed of slack water.
Look how the burst of laughter doze off, and even the bards themselves
dandle their heads like children on the backs of their mother.
Look how the feet of the dancers grow heavy, as well as the tongue of the alternating chorus.

This is the hour of the stars and of the Night that dreams reclining on that range of clouds, draped in its long gown of milk.
The roofs of the huts gleam gently. What are they so confidently telling to the stars?
Inside, the hearth extinguishes in the intimacy of bitter and sweet scents.

Woman, light the lamp of butterclear oil, let the Ancesters, like their parents, talk the children in bed.
Let’s listen to the voice of the Ancients of Elissa. Exiled as we are they did not want to die, their seminal flood is lost in the sand.
Let me hear, in the smoky which I visit, a reflection of propitious souls
Let my head on your breast, warm as a dang taken from the fire and smoking.
Let me inhale the smell of our Dead, let me collect and repeat their living voice, let me learn
To live before I sink, deeper than the diver, into the lofty depth of sleep.

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