Sunday, August 07, 2011


I have wanted for many years to write poems in Kriolu, but felt like my Kriolu wasn't good enough. It wasn't (TBH) because you really have to have a great grasp of a language to write poetry in it. I haven't spoken Kriolu on a daily basis in 20 years, so my grasp of it is slipping. But I decided that maybe if I just started to write some poems anyway, that will force me to learn the language better, maybe even well enough to eventually write some decent poems. My poem 'MORNA' was translated into Kriolu, but other than that all my Cape Verdean poems are in English, although many of them contain Kriolu words. This is my first attempt, it based on Dumas' 'Love Song', but isn't a translation, more like an adaptation. I'll put up an English translation at some point, but there's no real way to translate some the cultural impact of some of the imagery. Lines like "Jan sabe pa mode ca ta txuba / o ceu ja txora tud lagrimas hora ki bu bai," (I know why it doesn't rain, the sky cried all its tears when you left) means a great deal more in a country that averages 2 inches of rain a year and has more citizens that live out of the country, than in it. Not to mention the implication that the sky has Sodade, a term that means a kind of longing / nostalgia/ unrequited desire that has no real English equivalent. The title is from a famous Cape Verdean song by Tito Paris.


(After Henry Dumas)

N ten ki gráma kes dés ilhas,
o bentu leste debe ki obi bu vós
el ta canta e sibia sima bo,
a terra debe ki odja bu cara
el ten kor sima bo peli,
txintxorote ta canta bu nome
hora ki bo ta passa,
Jan sabe pa mode ca ta txuba
o ceu ja txora tud lagrimas hora ki bu bai,
Jan sabe pa mode o vulcao ten fogo tud noite
Si kurason ta kema sin bo,
Tudu dia a mar ta tenta
faze karakols sima bu cabelu,
N ten ki gosta kel spedju di kes dés ilhas,
ja bo inxina’l bem
mode ki ten sodade.
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