the striped fawn of my dream

Léopold Sédar Senghor, poet-president of Senegal, whom we’ve mentioned briefly before. From Song of the Initiate

She flees, she flees through the white flat land, while I take
Careful aim, giddy with desire. Is she in the bush of games,
Passions of thorns and thickets? Then shall I force her
To the chains of time, inhaling the sweet breath of her flanks
Of speckled shadows, and at stupefying High Noon shall I
Twist her fragile arms. The antelope’s rattle will intoxicate me
Life fresh palm wine and I shall drink for a long time
The wild blood that rises from her heart, the bloody milk
That flows to her mouth, the scent of the wet earth.


I have to hold back my blood at the end of its long cinnabar leash,
The son of Man, son of Lion, who roars in the hollow hills
Setting fire to a hundred villages with his male harmattan voice.

I will go leaping above the hills, defying the fear of wind
And steppes, defying the river-seas where virgin bodies drown
In the depth of their anguish. Then I will climb back up the sweet belly
Of dunes and the gleaming thighs of the day, up to the dark throat
Where a quick blow kills the striped fawn of my dream.

I like those big and distant but compelling Song of Songs-type comparisons that we don’t seem to use today (as in: “thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Mount Gilead.Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.” More examples here.)

(I just got J.D. McClatchy’s “Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry” in the mail.)

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

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