Translation

The Declaration   (Azimio)

 

The Declaration now:

the remains of a meal

on the capitalist's moustache,

the leaking pen

in a student's pocket,

the choking dust

once the herd has passed by.

No-one's been shaved,

no-one's received a new pen,

the road still lies unrepaired.

All that remains

is a grain of millet

thrown into the wilderness

by a sightless sower.

 


Euphrase Kezilahabi 

Tanzanian poet, novelist and scholar, Euphrase Kezilahabi was one of the first African writers to publish a collection of free verse poetry in Swahili, whose work has also had a great impact on the development of the genre of the novel in Swahili.  He is Associate Professor of African Literature at the University of Botswana. The 1967 Azimio la Arusha or Arusha Declaration outlined the TANU party's aims for African socialiism in Tanzania 

More of Kezilahabi's poems, translated by Katriina Ranne and Poetry Translation Centre Workshop members, can be see here at the Poetry Translation Centre website.

     
  
 

 

Song for Wulf 

   

To my people he'd be like a gift, easy prey

if he dared to come armed, the man

they'd love to destroy.

    So we live in our separate worlds,

Wulf on one island, I on another - 

this fastness encircled by marsh and fen,

this island of blood-thirsting, battle-hard men

who'd love to destroy him if ever

he dared to come armed.

    So we live in our separate worlds.


The rain continues to fall. In my thoughts

I am tracking his far-trailing footsteps,

waiting and keening, wound fast 

in the circling warrior arms of another,

every thought bringing equal measures

    of pleasure and pain.

 

Wulf, my own Wulf, I am weak

from thinking of you and your over-long absence,

the grief in my heart far greater

    than any hunger for food.


Remember, Eadwacer, warrior: it's easy

to sever those ties never truly united.

Remember that Wulf has carried our unhappy wolf-cub

away with him into the woods - the song

      he and I made together.

 

from The Exeter Book,10th-century