Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Extracts from The Bleeding— Bios Diallo

Jul 31, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments


Bios Diallo poems

Image Used For Representation




Leave, migrate
You will not see my likeness
A hold on the seabed
My night is there
On the arm of the pirogue
Where a grove end
Me, lump of earth
Leaf that shakes, shivers
I offer my days to breath
Haste to flee my continent
Nymph of poverty, of dark nights
Spit of the world
My body the shame of all my own

So, from the top of hills that slip away
I defy the departure
I recoil not, in front of the water,
I tremble not, before the fire,
I brave the ocean
The police and their hearses
To die
No disgrace, for the vomited leaf
Tell my mother, my father, my beloved
That I will go beyond the borders of cowardice


If I have only my days to build
Let me weave them
the rafters I will find
firewood I will make
the hedge I will smooth
If I have only my nights to watch
Let me put out the flames
the basins I will find
the sheets I will embroider
the sleeves I will straighten


Do not tell the grave
To render what it already gave to termites
Do not tell the shadow
To erect the ladders of a reviled sky
We don’t fight over land
said the fable
You don’t dig a well over and over
replied the widow
Without the will of men


Faced with extremes, vilification
We will keep our elbows white
No one will burn the Nation, shaped by our sweat
Standing in the effigy of its flag
Leaves stuck to its blood
We will raise up our eyes
The proud rosary around our neck
The barbarians will not fill our bottle with hate
The blade they hone will slip from their hands
This land of ours, a batch of milk
Will resist them


Say to the grave, without pride
There the poem ends
There the identities bleed, the prayers
And, see
There too the Nation is reborn
And since a country has only one language
That of its future, of its people
I will use mine
Even if it is punctured
And since no one goes into exile
Don’t hurt your land
The eternal shepherd
I will be for my Nation

Also, read Sheep by Dr Indira Dangi translated from the Hindi by Rituparna Mukherjee, and published in The Antonym:

Sheep— Dr. Indira Dangi

Follow The Antonym’s Facebook page and Instagram account for more content and exciting updates.

Bios Diallo

Bios Diallo

Bios Diallo is an advisor in charge of the Arts at the Mauritanian Ministry of Culture. He has worked in France for Jeune Afrique, L’Autre Afrique and Afrique Magazine (AM). His publications include De la naissance au mariage chez les Peuls de Mauritanie (Karthala, 2004), a novel, Une Vie de Sébile (L’Harmattan, 2010) and poetry collections: Les Pleurs de l’arc-en-ciel (L’Harmattan, 2002), Les Os de la Terre (L’Harmattan, 2009) and La Saigne (Ed Le Manteau & la Lyre. OBSIDIANE, 2021). During the Malian crisis of 2013, he participated in the collection Voix hautes pour Tombouctou with Vrilles à Tombouctou, a cry of indignation for the besieged city. 

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson is an English poet and translator. Most recent poetry collections: Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore, 2018), Beneficato (SE, 2015), Gifted (Corrupt Press, 2014), Nel Santuario (SE, 2013; Menzione speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012) and translator notably of Max Alhau (France), Tahar Bekri (Tunisia), Gilles Cyr (Quebec), as well as Italian poets Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca. Recent translations in Transference, Metamorphoses, The Tupelo Quarterly, and poems in The Black Bough, The Fortnightly Review notably. Longstanding collaborator with artists’ book publisher Transignum, member of the editorial committee of La Traductière, and founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ongoing Event

Ongoing Event

Upcoming Books

Ongoing Events

Antonym Bookshelf

You have Successfully Subscribed!