Two Poems by Djibril Sall

Finally have internet in the mountains of the Pyrenees (the village of  Bourg d’Oueil, to be precise) & can try to get back to some normalcy of blogging. Working right now — as I’ve been doing for some two years now! — on the Maghrib anthology. Here are two poems by the Mauritanian poet Djibril Sall (born in the town of Rosso in 1939), translated from Sall’s French this morning.


Furrow of fertile earth
Attack of balanitis thorn on fire tongue;
Innocent child’s hand on an millet ear
In morning’s neckline;
Blue sky
Setting sun to the sound of DOUGA

Yesterday it was CAS-CAS in dirt and blood
SIMBARADJI is dust and sweat
Today HAIRE M’BAR in honor and pride


Let my pen
gather the pollen
from SPIRIT’S flower:
Free is my heart
Free my thought,
Oh the celestial palette!
rime fetters me
the quatrain torments me
the caesura sections me
the alexandrian fences me in:


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3 Responses

  1. Deborah Zike says:

    I really liked the poems and hope to read more.

  2. Beautiful. Is there any chance you could also post the French? (I ask because I’d like to share the poems with a non-anglophonic francophone…).

  3. July Blalack says:

    Dear Pierre,
    Thank you so much for posting these translations from Mauritania, a literary goldmine which is sadly neglected by the outside world. I am curating a special issue of Words Without Borders focusing on Mauritania, and am looking for French-English translators if you or anyone you know might be interested.

    Best wishes,

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