Featured Poem

Dialect of Hurricanes

Every day, I use the dialect of lunatic hurricanes. I speak the folly of colliding winds.

Every evening, I use the patois of furious rains. I speak the fury of flooding waters.

Every night, I speak to the Caribbean islands in the tongue of hysterical storms. I speak the hysteria of the roaring sea.

Dialect of hurricanes. Patois of rains. Language of storms. Flow of the spiralling life.

Life, fundamentally, is tension. Towards something. Towards someone. Towards oneself. Towards the threshold of maturity where the old and new and death and birth untangle. And all this partially happens in the pursuit of one ’s double, a pursuit that might even become confused with the intensity of a need, of a desire, of a continual quest.

Some dogs go by – I’ve always been obsessed by stray mutts – they bark at the outline of the woman I’m chasing. At the image of the man I’m looking for. At my double. At the hubbub of fleeing voices. For so many years. Thirty centuries, it seems.

The woman has gone, with neither trumpet nor drum. Along with my dissonant heart. The man did not even proffer his hand. My double is always encroaching on me. And the unhinged throats of nocturnal dogs yowl horribly with the cacophony of a broken accordion.

It is then that I become a storm of words that bursts the hypocrisy of clouds and the falsity of silence. Rivers. Storms. Lightning. Mountains. Trees. Lights. Rains. Savage oceans. Carry me to the core of your frenetic articulations. Set me free! A pinch of clarity would suffice so that I might be born a viable being. Because I accept life. Tension. The unyielding law of growth. Osmosis and symbiosis. Set me free! The noise of a step, of a look, of a stirring voice would suffice, because I live happily in the hope that waking is still a possibility for mankind. Set me free! How little it would take for me to speak of the sap that circulates in the marrow of cosmic joints.

Dialect of hurricanes. Patois of rains. Language of storms. I speak the flow of the spiralling life.

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About the translation:
André Naffis-Sahely
Original language:
2013 Number 3 - Secret Agents of Sense

About the author

Original poet


Frankétienne has published poetry, novels and plays in both French and Haitian Creole. Recently called ‘the Father of Haitian...

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André Naffis-Sahely

André Naffis-Sahely is a poet and translator; his translations include the Bottom of the Jar by Abdellatif Laâbi (Archipelago,...

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