Birago Diop – Vanity

If we tell, gently, gently
All that we shall one day have to tell,
Who then will hear our voices without laughter,
Sad complaining voices of beggars
Who indeed will hear them without laughter?
If we roughly of our torments
Ever increasing from the start of things
What eyes will watch our large mouths
Shaped by the laughter of big children
What eyes will watch our large mouth?
What hearts will listen to our clamoring?
What ear to our pitiful anger
Which grows in us like a tumor
In the black depth of our plaintive throats?
When our Dead comes with their Dead
When they have spoken to us in their clumsy voices;
Just as our ears were deaf
To their cries, to their wild appeals
Just as our ears were deaf
They have left on the earth their cries,
In the air, on the water, where they have traced their signs
For us blind deaf and unworthy Sons
Who see nothing of what they have made
In the air, on the water, where they have traced their signs
And since we did not understand the dead
Since we have never listen to their cries
If we weep, gently, gently
If we cry roughly to our torments
What heart will listen to our clamoring,
What ear to our sobbing hearts?

Senegalese folktale poet Birago Diop 1906-1989 educated in Dakar and related tales of the wolof people

9 thoughts on “Birago Diop – Vanity

  1. i really need the summary of this poem
    my assignment is “according to Birago Diop our Ancestors are important to us (discuss)”
    please any help…


  2. Please put a website Or a link…for analysis of birago diop’s poems……because I wanted to do my assignment and couldn’t find any subject matter or any analysis on the poem vanity…..and these poems takes like 75%of our literature subject….because this term was all about poems….so please just put some analysis of his poems…..but until then I have to fail literature Continuos assesment for second term


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