A voice from the country of my dreams

by Landa wo


A voice
The voice

Ngondo Moyula1, what does the voice of the father say?
Let’s listen to it.


The tears of the mother are a snowy mausoleum.
The virgin is a naked plant who runs in the meadows.
In the country of my ancestors: on the edges of the city Joal the heaviest rain never wets the heart. The gorges of Diosso are the proof that humanity has shed tears.
The story of the evening overturns the certainties of the day.
Solitude is to turn your back on the world.
Sadness is when the world turns its back on you.
A morning with a brown sun announces the end of the world,
_____at least for those who have something to lose.

A voice
The voice
Tchimpadou2, what does the mother’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.

The murmur of the mother’s voice gets louder. Let’s leave it to find its way.
Nothingness is the rosary of our absurd interrogations.
A tired cloud sits on the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The soul is a place where one finds oneself alone with one’s Me.
When the palm tree lies down the palm wine continues to flow.
The heart is a pebble soaked in emotion. Dried out, it reveals the hardness of human nature.
The steps of the dance are lighter in the hail.
To hope is to doze in destiny’s diligence waiting for the jolt which wakes you up.
We wash the body more deeply and the spirit longer.

A voice
The voice

Nzambi3, what does the ancestor’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.
When the wizard tells you to get up and dance, do it.
You don’t eat fish with its scales.
Solitude is bought. If it’s sold at a good price man is a God. If’ it’s sold too dear, God is a man.
The roots of the wind are not found in the sky but under the water.
The arrow of time is not always turned towards the future.
The search for oneself has an element of suicide.
Life comes from water, and this water is the mirror of truth and of and what we will become.
Only children and sea winds carry the values of tomorrow.
Transformations are slow but always deep
A voice
The voice

Barambo4, what does the sister’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.

The shadow of death has no age, it is always green.
We resemble the wounds of our past.

Beauty without a name is always called drunkenness.
Rain falls from the trees, knowledge is born of chimneys and my love feeds on your desertion.
The possible can always be grasped in reality.
Memory and justice are not luxuries for the oppressed.
To voyage among men is to lose one’s humanity.
A man who loses his roots doesn’t necessarily grow wings.
Recognition of slavery is collective, liberation is personal.


A voice
The voice

Kayimuinda Ndjo5, what does the brother’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.

The north doesn’t always begin at the south.
Humanitarian aid is a balm without effect.
If you cross Conventions Place you often find yourself on the Boulevard of Preconceived Ideas.
Only prison makes true wandering possible.
It’s often when knocking on the door of recognition that the hero is assassinated.
When a man can’t live on the land of his ancestors, he settles down in the land of his imagination.
This great chief of a thousand parties and a hundred palaces does not blame the crickets for the famine in his village. Instead he looks in the gourd which contains his lack of wisdom and foresight.
The man who disciplines his inner chaos rises towards wisdom.
The time of truth opens the time of sacrifices.


A voice
The voice

Ntolle Mbuyi6, what does the mother’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.

A bruised people is not healed by becoming brutal in its turn.
A passive people is a guilty people.
On coming back from the country of legends the artist can bring forth jewels from the mire.
The wise man should not be ashamed of his milk teeth.
Every morning at the foot of Kilimanjaro we witness the awakening of a giant or the putting to death of a world.
We share the youth of the universe.
Memory and justice are not luxuries for the poor.
Let us drink of death to go and bury a dream.
I am just a murmur of the wind in the desert of Kalahan.
My civilization is a besieged nation.


A voice
The voice

Ngosi Tulema7, what does the mother’s voice say?
Let’s listen to it.

Those without voices and without microphones survive.
Here, no-one knows who of the soul or the body arrives first at the cemetery.
On this earth, the last hours are not the dearest.
Going to the top of the hill, ungrateful steps often crush the most beautiful flowers which make the journey sweet.
The people is a lazy animal.
The hero is a being without scars.
If the crab fishing is bad, the fisherman goes around the island again.
The lion has the antelope’s prudence.
When a village is built on water, you need at least one canoe.


A voice
The voice
A voice from the country of my dreams

Grief is never more than a house being rebuilt.
The one who cuts short the argument should not have one foot in need.
From Timbuktu to Montreal via Dakar heading for Huito the sons of exile will always find refuge.


A voice
The voice
A voice from the country of my dreams

The great elephant, shaking its trunk, spoke at last:
_____-_____ Who are you, voice of my journey?
_____-_____ Who are you, voice which seems one and many at the same time?

I am the voice which is in every man
Listen to it or ignore it!
I am the voice which knows everything
I am the voice which accompanies humanity
Since the beginning of time
I am the voice which guides you towards the country of your dreams.

The great elephant, dissatisfied with this answer, asked:

So which of your children must I obey? Where is the country of my dreams located?
I never sleep, how can I dream?

The voice becoming contemptuous:
The elements express themselves freely. I let them speak because only they can answer your questions.

The Ancestor clearing his throat spoke up first as the wise one and said: Any man who carries hatred in his mother tongue will never reach the country of the wise.


Birth coming out of the greenish latrines said:
The last of Men by flush away all memory of peace, the country of my dreams will be nothing but an awkward shadow.

Charity perched on a mango tree spoke up and said:
What I give with the heart is a ripe fruit, the rest is just bitter lemonade.
In the country of my dreams the beggars will be bilingual.

Death, feeling excluded, got up, pulling back its blanket of bones and thorns, and said:
I am goodness because I am the only certainty. Beggars can be bilingual and speak the language of their ancestors and of the new master, only my language of desolation will remain unique even in the country of your dreams.

Goodness, frustrated at feeling part of its attributes stolen, cried to the pedlar winds:
No-one who brings desolation and grief can represent me, Love is mine. In the country of dreams son, language and sentiments alone will bring men together.

Love, playing with its dolls, dropped the Man figure in the hay and put the Woman in its pocket, without a heart of course.

Treachery finally, wishing to restore its honour, said: Do not call the noble who changes side to save youth in danger ungrateful.

Illusion, descending from its chair, said:
I should have the last word because I offer the illusion of a rich life in a peaceful world to humanity in perpetual mourning.

The laughing monkeys at the top of their fruit tree started to sing :
Peace is a fine word, give us bananas and wine and we will offer you peace.

Need said: Don’t stir yourself to go and look for things which are out of reach, apart from that patience is the invisible hand.

Exile, lighting a fire of hope, said this: when wandering stops being a condition and becomes second nature the poet at last reaches the country of his dreams.

An exasperated voice coming from a reed and taking the form of a blinding light said: God sends prophets on earth when he gives up on an arduous task, peace is an arduous task even in the country of my dreams.

On the corner of a table the last piece of the universal declaration of human rights burned slowly.


1 Escaped convict from history
2 Female head of the Soko clan. Tribe from the dense forest of Central Africa which inherited 1000 words at the start of life. Everyone who dies takes 30 words to go and speak to the dead. Each newborn arrives with one word. The Soko people will only find speech again when the original 1000 words are reunited
3 All powerful God, the creator
4 Prince of minerals, first of the dead buried in the city of the wind
5 Dried up steam
6 He who gives out vices
7 He who barks the truth


Read more poetry in our current issue