The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

Poetry in Translation: Léopold Sédar Senghor

Translation by Uche Ogbuji (Nigeria/ USA). Published in issue 25.

 

 

Femme Noire

 

Bare lady, black lady

Robed in your color, which is life, in your form, which is beauty

I grew in your shade; sweetness of your hands swathed my eyes

And there at the summer day zenith, I discovered you, Promised Land, in heights of a scorched, lofty pass

And your beauty blasts me, full-hearted, like lightning flash of an eagle.

 

Bare lady, dark lady

Ripe fruit of firm flesh, somber ecstasies of black wine, mouth that inclines my mouth lyrical

Savannah of pure horizons, savannah that stirs to the fervent caresses of the Westerly Wind

Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom which groans under fingers of the Conqueror

Your deep contralto voice is the spirit chant of the Beloved.

 

Bare lady, dark lady

Oil unwrinkled by the merest wind, oil calm on athlete's loins, on loins of Malian princes.

Gazelle with ties to heaven, pearls are stars on night of your skin.

Delightful the frolics of spirit, gold-glint nibbles the shimmering silk of your skin

In your hair's shade, my anguish clears in the nearby suns of your eyes.

 

Bare lady, black lady

I sing your passing beauty, form that I fix in Evermore.

Before jealous destiny reduces you to ashes for nurture of life's roots.

--

Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. Uche is a computer engineer and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems, fusing native Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared in journals and anthologies including ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, Corium Magazine, The Flea, IthacaLit, Unsplendid, String Poet, The Raintown Review, Victorian Violet, Mountain Gazette and New Sun Rising. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous Breakdown.

This is Uche's second piece of work published in The Ofi Press.