My coffin awaits me somewhere at the horizon
I want it in sandalwood with dreams
pinned down like butterflies in the sermon
of an adolescence of eternity so brief
May my skeleton blossom with the seasons
my blood euphoric will flow freely
up to the very heart of your solid house and
to the shelter of love to devour your Eves
wreathed in incurable religions
I will be the old earth of Babylon
with its gods its satyrs and its legions
I will spread in your beds my pallid cyclones
and far very far in your shivering regions
I will paint my death on a canvas of autumn

– Ahmed Bouanani. from Photogrammes

translated by Emma Ramadan


Let the cricket slit night’s silence
with the scalpel of its throat
Let nightbirds coo and cuddle
In the swinging Eden of their nests;
But when dawn finally climbs down
Through the leering rafters,
I will be a promise
Eternal like your seasonless sky
   kiriji kiriji papelupe

– Niyi Osundare. from Moonsongs


      for Lurline McGregor

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.

Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.

Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.

Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.

Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.

Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.

Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

– Joy Harjo. Ah, Ah