Your Country

Your Country
Your country
Is studded with mountains,
Seychelles lad.

With tough granite
With crude gravel
And with coral, your country.

Your country
Wears a belt
Of white beaches loosening in the tides.
Antoine Abel

from Invitation to a Voyage, edited by Stephen Gray (Pretoria: Protea Book House, 2008)

Reproduced by kind permission of the publisher.
Antoine Abel

Antoine Abel was born in 1934, in Anse Boileau on Mahé Island, the principal island of the Seychelles. He went to school there, then attended the Universities of Reading and Bristol in England, eventually taking up a position at the Seychelles Teacher Training College which he held until he retired in 1986.

Abel is widely considered to be the father of Seychelles literature, having written novels, short stories, poetry, plays and folklore in French, English and Seychelles Creole, as well as collecting oral pieces for publication. His first collection of poems, Paille en queue (1969), recounting memories of his childhood, gained him an international recognition as the first Seychellois writer to be published in Europe. His best known works are three collections of prose poems: Coco sec (1969), Une tortue se rappelle (1977), Contes et poémes des Seychelles (1977).

Abel was awarded France’s Prix Mascareignes in 1979. Following his death in 2004, since 2007 the Festival Kreol des Seychelles yearly awards the Prix Antoine Abel in his honour.

Read more about this poet
About Your Country

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