Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Belly Remains - Tchicaya U Tam’si

Sure the belly remains chaste
under a treasure of white bones
then open to a fighter’s song
lost body and soul
in the flames of his passion
As at Mont Ségur
As elsewhere where
a feast of fallow bodies
invents tortures.

Bannered at the spectacle made of it
one hears chimings a-rattle
from one song to the other
under an own sky
when one no longer knows
in what night were lost
the body and wherewithal of a crown
got it in the spine and on the chin.

Sure, the belly remains.
Is it more filthy than chaste?
Because of certain heartbreaks?
Love for love’s
sake is as depressing as the rest.
But love for life’s sake
the one one gives with the belly
the earth takes charge of it
Thank god the visionaries fall
most often on their backs
most often with arms open wide
most often
with their belly skyward!

Tchicaya U Tam’si (1931 - 1988) Democratic Republic of Congo
Translated by Pierre Joris
Source: The Patriotic Vanguard

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