David Diop Poems >>
The Vultures

In that time
When civilization struck with insults
When holy water struck domesticated brows
The vultures built in the shadow of their claws
The bloody monument of the tutelary era
In that time
Laughter gasped its last in the metallic hell of roads
And the monotonous rhythm of Paternosters
Covered the groans on plantations run for profit
O sour memory of extorted kisses
Promises mutilated by machine-gun blasts
Strange men who were not men
You knew all the books you did not know love
Or the hands that fertilize the womb of the earth
The roots of our hands deep as revolt
Despite your hymns of pride among boneyards
Villages laid waste and Africa dismembered
Hope lived in us like a citadel
And from the mines of Swaziland to the heavy sweat of  Europe's factories
Spring will put on flesh under our steps of light.