We continue our saga on Love with poetry, a literary genre for a very long time associated with romance. Here is a poem written by Leopold Sédar Senghor, one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century. He was a poet, cultural theorist and Senegal’s first president. Senghor was also the first African elected as a member of the Académie française, the French pre-eminent institution for matters related to the French language.m_167595770_0

In his poem Black Woman, he praises and declares his love for the black woman, the dark woman, the black beauty…

 

Naked woman, black woman

Clothed with your colour which is life with your form which is beauty!
In your shadow I have grown up; the gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes.
And now, high up on the sun-baked pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon,
I come upon you, my Promised Land,
And your beauty strikes me to the heart like the flash of an eagle.

Naked woman, black woman

Clothed with your colour which is life,
with your form which is beauty!

In your shadow I have grown up; the
gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes.

And now, high up on the sun-bakedRedNecklac
pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon,
I come upon you, my Promised Land,
And your beauty strikes me to the heart

like the flash of an eagle.

Naked woman, dark woman

Firm-fleshed ripe fruit, sombre raptures
of black wine, mouth making lyrical my mouth
Savannah stretching to clear horizons,
savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind’s
eager caresses

Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom, muttering
under the Conqueror’s fingers

Your solemn contralto voice is the
spiritual song of the Beloved.15e73a42bb16314f15fbcf744b8b0650

Naked woman, dark woman

Oil that no breath ruffles, calm oil on the
athlete’s flanks, on the flanks of the Princes of Mal
Gazelle limbed in Paradise, pearls are stars on the
night of your skin

Delights of the mind, the glinting of red
gold against your watered skin

Under the shadow of your hair, my care is lightened by the neighbouring suns of your eyes.

Naked woman, black woman,
I sing your beauty that passes, the form
that I fix in the Eternal,

Before jealous fate turn you to ashes to
feed the roots of life.images

 

Léopold Sédar Senghor, Chants d’ombre