The young sun’s greeting
On my bed, your letter’s glow
All the sounds that burst from morning
Blackbirds’ brassy calls, jingle of gonoleks
Your smile on the grass, on the radiant dew.
In the innocent light, thousands of dragonflies
Quivering, like large black-winged golden bees
And like helicopters turning with gentle grace
On the limpid beach, gold and black the Tramiae basilares
I say the dance of Mali’s princesses.
You are the one I seek, on the path of the tiger-cats.
Your scent always yours, from the buzzing brambles of the bush
Headier than a growing lily’s perfume.
Your redolent throat leads me on, your scent wafted by Africa
When with my shepherd’s feet I trample tufts of wild mint.
The season done, my trials overcome, in the depths of the abyss
God! may I find you again, find your voice, your fragrance of vibrant light.
Léopold Sédar Senghor, “The Young Sun’s Greeting” from The Yale Anthology of 20th Century French Poetry. English Translation Copyright © 2008 by Hoyt Rogers. Reprinted by permission of the translator.
Source: The Yale Anthology of 20th Century French Poetry (Yale University Press, 2008)