Poem by Leon Laleau

by Michelle

 

Trahison

Ce coeur obsédant, qui ne correspond
Pas à mon langage ou à mes costumes
Et sur lequel mordent, comme un crampon,
Des sentiments d’emprunt et des coutumes
D’Europe, sentez-vous cette souffrance
Et ce désespoir à nul autre égal
D’apprivoiser, avec des mots de France,
Ce coeur qui m’est venu du Sénégal?
 

Betrayal

This implacable heart, which matches

neither my tongue or my clothes,

after which bites, like the hinges of a trap

the borrowed sentiments and customs

of Europe—do you sense this suffering,

this despair, which is like nothing else,

breaking in with words from France

this heart, of mine, come from Senegal?

 

—-by Léon Laleau, translation Michelle Cahill

Léon Laleau was a Haitian politician, writer, diplomat. Born in Port- au-Prince he studied science and law, serving as Minister for Foreign Affairs. He signed the 1934 accord which, at that time, ceased the United States’ occupation of Haiti.

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