Poem: Home News by Ahmed Tidjani-Cissé

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Home News

‘My dear son I am well thanks be to God
I pray for you day and night.’

‘My dear brother it’s my sad duty to announce
the death of our beloved mother
Which occurred last Sunday
after a short illness.’

‘My cousin I’ve grown a lot
send me some trousers and new shoes.’

‘My love, it’s now ten years I’ve been awaiting you
What’s keeping you there in the white man’s land
think of the trouble you cause us
by such a long absence.’

‘My dear friend our country’s changing
into a huge shanty-town.
No one can eat his fill except…
Send me a tape-recorder.’

‘My dear son it is I your father
I beg you to return to your land
if not you will not have even
the sorrow of recognizing my tomb.’

‘My dear nephew, I must tell you
of your father’s death
we all hope you’ll be able to attend
the forty-days’ wake.’

‘My dear…’
A tear yesterday when the postman passed
Anxiety today in awaiting his return
The abyss of sadness envelops me
When I have no news from home.
My soul shrivels a little
When home news tumbles over me.
The other day I made a fleeting boat
Full of home news.
I set it in the water at the wharf of Exile-Overseas.
I went to attend its arrival
at the landing stage of Loneliness-under-Hope.
My boat landed some secret passengers for me
Next day the postman’s prophetic hand was
stretched towards me.

‘My dear friend, your brother was arrested
last week in reprisal
for your political work against the government
Your family is left without a head
Send me a shirt and a neck-tie.’

— Ahmed Tidjani-Cissé
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