Definitions

synonyme

Souéloum Diagho

Souéloum Diagho, the contemporary Tuareg poet, comes from Tessalit in the North of Mali. His father is a Tuareg and his mother a Peul. He is married and lived for a time in Belgium. He is author and editor of the 2001 work Poésies touareg : le chant des saisons (Tuareg poetry: Song of the seasons), a collection of some 175 traditional poems.

Although primarily writing in French, he is in the tradition of Ghaylan ibn 'Uqbah, seeing the Tuareg as quintessentially Keltamacheq (speakers of Tamasheq), nomads of the desert. His poems speak of the desert, a space swarming with life, palpitating like the heart of planet, the richness of its silence and the force of its people. He comments on our Western world and on our fears.

Tazeyen bouissenes as war tizeyen ilssawanes
Wounds heal and words endure.

Extracts

from Le désert (The desert)

Le désert érode mon âme comme l'érosion des vents qui scie les plaines, au loin les oueds gémissent comme les chants des cigales qui chevauchent les soleils.
Mon âme est las et les absences la polissent comme un bijoux entre les mains d'un artisanat et le désert l'accompagne des rots qui éternisent ses frontières.
O maman j'ai soif mais le désert me pourchasse comme l'ombre devant l'apparition du soleil.
O désert j'ai mal, un mal qui pince la pointe de mon âme je suis nostalgique et si ça continue j'irais loin dans le néant qui anéanti ma vu.

The desert erodes my heart like the erosion of the winds which saw the plains, from afar the wadis groan like the songs of the cicadas astride the suns.
My soul is tired and the absences polish it like a jewel in craftsmens' hands and the desert accompanies it with belches which prolong its borders.
O my mother, I am thirsty but the desert pursues me like the shade in front of the apparition of the sun.
O desert, I am ill, an evil which grips the peak of my heart I am nostalgic and if that continues I would go far in the nothingness which annihilates my sight.

from Peuple de l'errance (Nomads)

Peuple né du vent et des nuages ayant comme monture les mirages.
L’errance n’est pas synonyme de bêtise mais de liberté de l’âme et du corps.
Vont-ils puiser dans les fonds du mirage ce que d’autres cherchent ou trouvent dans les écrits ?

People wind-born, cloud-inset mirage born.
Wandering is not synonymous with stupidity but with freedom of soul and body.
Will they fathom in the mirage what others seek or find in scripture?
(free translation)

from Akal n'iba (Land stretches as far as the eye can see)

A perte de vue se dessine la ligne de l'horizon dans ses grandes plaines qui forment le Sahara.
A perte de vue la caravane perce le mystère qui fait peur aux initiés de cette atmosphère.
A perte de vue les nomades errent dans ces terres hostiles et tristes comme la mort au premier abord.
A perte de vue dans le lointain infini le vent ramène le temps dans le giron des collines agrémentées des dunes aux grains de sable fin.
...
A perte de vue l'homme néolithique a tracé sa route face à l'océan sans limite. 'Akal n'iba' se situe entre deux mondes celui d'hier et celui de demain. Aucun des deux n'est certain, l'un est passé et l'autre nous attend.

As far as the eye can see, the line of the horizon is drawn in the great plains which form the Sahara.
As far as the eye can see, the caravan pierces the mystery which frightens the initiates of this atmosphere.
As far as the eye can see, the nomads wander in these lands, hostile and sad like the first sight of death.
As far as the eye can see, in the infinite distance the wind brings back time in the lap of the hills trimmed with dunes of fine grains of sand.
...
As far as the eye can see, Neolithic man marked out his route facing the unbounded ocean. “Akal n'iba” is between two worlds, that of yesterday and that of tomorrow. Neither is certain, one is past, the other awaits.

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