Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Flavien Ranaivo, "Song of a Common Lover"

Don't love me, my sweet,
like your shadow
for shadows fade at evening
and I want to keep you
right up at cockcrow;
nor like pepper
which makes the belly hot
for then I couldn't take you
when I'm hungry;
nor like a pillow
for we'd be together in the hours of sleep
but scarcely meet by day;
nor like rice
for once swallowed you think no more of it;
nor like soft speeches
for they quickly vanish;
nor like honey,
sweet indeed but too common.
Love me like a beautiful dream,
your life in the night,
my hope in the day;
like a piece of money,
ever with me on earth,
and for the great journey
a grateful comrade;
like a calabash,
intact, for drawing water;
in pieces, bridges for my guitar.


~


(1963)

Tonight I asked my roomate if she knew any poems about Egypt, and she threw a Modern Poetry from Africa anthology in my direction. I picked this poem, because it was the first one I picked from the table of contents, because of its intriguing & amusing title - a lover who's average, or a lover who's held in common? Anyway, it turned out to be pretty decent (though also entertainingly indecent - though I wonder what of the double entendres exists in the original French) so I figured I would include it, since I don't know that many poems that feature Egypt, and unfortunately don't have quite the time or resources to be looking them up at the moment. Technically, I failed anyway - Ranaivo is from Madagascar. Oh well.

1 comment:

sahadeva said...

Dude, this is an excellent poem. Simple, straightforward, but clever in its aim.

Thanks for posting all these poems!