Translated from French by Marilyn Hacker Pour Ali la Pointe Here where each day calls out to our suffering Here where each step chains our desire for hope Here where everything cries out misfortune violence famine Here where blood is confirmed silently and grief gains ground He died. Died buried under a pile of rubble While he trampled hatred down with his proud blood So that the roots of his impatient people Would grow knotty in the shadow of the flag Gray tears, so slow to cool Endurances curved round the sacred fire Because they wanted to condemn our long Arid thankless processions to the shadows Because they wanted to tear up our lives At the borders of oblivion Ali La Pointe, son of a land that took up arms Sole penance, disturbing spacious nights Who wrestled down infamy, devoured disdain At first sight of their guns Here he is indicting at one more meeting Their blood-gorged breath; he is there For those who know the universe at the dark hour Of Servitudes Furies of one shared past! His face—mirror of cruelties—where a chorus of cries Fuses our hope, sharpens our freedom Here he is again, living hostage in the wrinkles around Our eyes where the new sun has driven away Shame and emptiness forever. I say: spotted, wrinkled, polished fruits. We sow because death is determined Because death is stronger than hunger O mother country, he called you Certainty before his rapture Then gave himself to the flames to restore Your sovereign brightness. Yesterday strapped down once more by insults of the lords and masters Swallowed up by incest misery He loved the humble, set tenderness free Devoured the past At the multiple hour of inheritance When our joy tells the beads of present freedoms When his name is whispered in our silences I cry out: Child of the Casbah Spring thaw on the ramparts
from "The Night Side"
Translated from French by Marilyn Hacker X Who will tell the sun about my land my harried medlar tree my springtime without nervures my helpful hand Who will recount my rootless garden and my door open to all comers my night of faraway sounds my wheat that absorbs the hours Who will cure me of my sequestration and sweet secret —my monochrome dream my space gone gray at the temples the barter of my frenzy the slumber at the edge of my well of fever My steppe with an abundance of laughter Perhaps it would be enough . . . But I watch time passing