Thursday, 11 May 2017

Blues Fragment - Francisco José Tenreiro

For Langston Hughes

All the melancholy of nights in Georgia
comes to me
this stormy night in Europe
through the solitary voice of the trumpet:
Oh! mammy! oh! mammy
rock yo lil’ chil’
Oh! mammy, oh! mammy
look at de world stealin’ yo chil’.

Black woman – your sweet voice
reaches me in the sadness of my heart
which breaks at the sad sound of a piano
playing in Harlem:
- Oh! King Joe
King Joe!
Joe Louis beat Buddy Bear
and Harlem laughed its white toothed negro laugh.

In these stormy nights in Europe
Count Basie plays for me
and black rhythms from America
inundate my heart;
- ah! black rhythms from America
inundate my heart.

And if I still am sad
Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen
Come to me
singing the poem of a new day
- ai! The black man is not dead
nor will he ever die!

…By and by with them I want to sing
by and by with them I want to struggle
ai, the black man is not dead
nor will he ever die!

Francisco José Tenreiro (1921 - 1963) São Tomé and Príncipe
Translated by Don Burness
Source: Lusophone Africa

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