- Akosua Biraa
The earth is like a great comal
above God’s hot coals
in my hand it lies dying
the turtle dove that dreamed of cooing you to sleep
I was a bell
joyfully coming and going
Why is it birthed in me
to knife the heart
Now bring me
that you find in the trees
goes and comes like the night
or beat it to look for your skeleton!
With these memories, how can I feel hurt?
Though you left me, how can I abhor you?
Maybe because of this, God doesn’t die
Guidxilayú ri’ naca ti dxia naro’ba’ qui gapa xhibia’
candaabi’ lu xté diuxi
ndaani’ naya’ nexheguundu’ guguhuiini’
Neegue’ ca nga
rilué’ xquiibalé yu’du’
ze’ ne zeeda
xiñee nisi nuaa’
gudxiga’ yaana’ xii
Latané naa nagasi
guirá manihuiini’ ruunda’
guidxélatu lu yaga,
rie ne reeda casi huaxhinni
Bixidxi la’ bandá’
pacaa guyé yeyubi dxitaládilu’
Paraa chiguniná guendarietenala’ dxi’ naa ya’
Paraa, neca zelu,’ gácananaladxe’ lii ya’
Zándaca runi nga diuxi qui huayati
comal a cast iron skillet for cooking tortillas (
(from the word “comalli” in Nahuatl)
funambulism tight rope walking; a show, especially of mental agility
tlamatinis habitual knowers of things
This piece is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from Víctor Terán’s (2010) “Poems/Diidxado”, as translated by David Shook and published by Poetry Translation Centre Ltd. These are phrases from both the Zapotec versions and the English translations.
So beautifully composed is this work. Pure poetry!
I just had to do this ad hoc sharing of yet another must #ReadIt—a lovely little compilation that I borrowed last night from The Library of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD). Here, where I am currently doing the West African Writers Residency Programme 2022.
Today is only day two and, already, I am back in deep love with all things literary, what with being in this intellectual space—surrounded by so many great books to read, as well as the company of some pretty cool co-conspirators. From the high pile of books I’ve borrowed, I expect there will be many more ad hoc #ReadIt posts to come.