Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Elegy in stone - Marcelo Ensema Nsang

I speak to you of my destiny when I die,
one afternoon, beside the virgin fountain,
at the edge
of my final memory.
I hope you will say:
'His life was to a stone
as a song is to a lark. Exactly.
You left it to the alien mime
& the spark jumped - flint -
of a hollow smile
withering at its core.
He offered you his life, firm on the platter
of his friendship, full of itself, yes, to the very brim.
You had to tell him: "This is heavy"
& your hands gave out under the bulk
to the tug of the earth.'
'Take my life' - he said to you - 'beneath the flesh of my easy smile'.
Then his life was a dry leaf
in the arms of the wind...

You will also say: 'On his shoulders the heads
of friends stumbled over the edge
of fierceness...'

Later you'll fling me
- like a stone -
to the heart of oblivion.
& I will live out the sentence
I will die standing like the trees
I will leave this opaque dolmen that I am
planted in the earth.

& I will stay standing
                            numb
                                   alone
                                          like a stone.

Marcelo Ensema Nsang (born 1947) Equatorial Guinea
Translated by David Shook and The Poetry Translation Workshop

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