African Moon

African Moon
I have dreamed for you
A beautiful moon
Beautiful as only the moon 
Of my village can be
In my village where girls dress
In clothes the color of joy
And dance to the slender sound of the drum
In my village where no neon 
Dulls the magical clarity
Of Lady Moon
In my village where no buildings
Block the passing of the luminous rays
Of Lady Moon
In my village where crickets orchestrate
A mute concert to salute
Lady Moon
In my village where mountains awakened by
The melodious sound of pastoral flute
Rise to salute 
Lady Moon
in your silence, O, friend
Accept a morsel of my beautiful 
African Moon 
To break up the night that haunts you
And a corner of my blue sky
To add to the enchanting green
Of my beautiful Africa
To brighten your sombre heart
To make hope eternal.
Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo

from A Rain of Words: A Bilingual Anthology of Women's Poetry in Francophile Africa, edited by Irène Assiba d’Almeida (Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2009)

translated by Janis A. Mayes

Reproduced by kind permission of the author.
Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo

Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo was born in 1956, in Labé, Guinea. She works as a writer, playwright, and theatre producer. An agricultural engineer by profession, she has also been an education and development consultant for international organisations in Guinea, including UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).

She has written many collections of poetry in French and in Peul, a French novel (Les épines de l’amour), plays campaigning against violence towards women, and folktales. Recent poetry publications include Le Rire du silence (2005) and Pellun Gondhi (1996), a collection of poetry in Peul. She has also worked as a journalist and radio producer, initiating a program to broadcast poetry in the local languages of Guinea. Diallo was awarded first prize for poetry written in the Pular language in 1990.

Diallo is a founding member of the Guinean branch of PEN Club International, and a member of the International Committee of Women Writers. She is President of the International Commission of African Women Poets and Writers, President of the Guinean Association for the Promotion of Women (AGUIFEM), Director of the Futa Jallon Museum, and an active member of several cultural associations in Guinea.

Read more about this poet
About African Moon

This poem, representing Guinea, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.