Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 5, 2018

“Dances of Yesterday” (Danses d’Hier) by Antoine Abel

Seychelles_Antoine Abel_Livre

Antoine Abel, Seychelles’ most prominent author

One of Seychelles’ most acclaimed and prolific author is the writer Antoine Abel, who had been an ambassador of the indigenous culture of the island nation. He is considered by many as the father of Seychelles’ literature, and had an extensive career writing novels, short stories, poetry and plays in FrenchEnglish, and Creole. Most of his work dealt with the folklore of the Seychelles, and the natural environment of the islands, in which he wove in colorful personalities and histories inspired from the local culture. Descending from a family of slaves, he is the first Seychellois writer to expose to wide world to the literary gems of the country.

Below is one of his poems, ‘Dances d’hier‘ translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. Enjoy the poem below, and also check out The Seychelles Ministry for Youth Sports and Culture which ‘remembers Antoine Abel.’

 

 

Danses d’hier

J’entends encore les staccatos
Le prolongement des sons des tam-tams
Des tam-tams du temps jadis

Alors les collines s’enflamment
Dans la nuit sèche
Les pieds des danseurs
Se baignent dans la fine poussière
De latérite
Et leurs pas scandent sauvagement
Un rythme endiablé

J’entends encore les notes rapides
La voix étouffée du « commandeur »
Se modulant dans l’air tiède du soir.

Alors les échines s’arc-boutent
Les unes aux autres
Et les hanches roulent comme des houles
Les ventres des danseuses voluptueuses
Ondulent lascivement…
Et des voix confuses s’interpellent
Impudemment.

Je perçois toujours les staccatos
Les grondements des “grosses caisses”
Par delà les années de mon enfance …
Je les porte en moi
Comme des stigmates.

Dances of Yesterday

I still hear the staccatos
The extension of the sounds of the drums
The drums from the old days

Then the hills ignite (flare)
In the dry night
The dancers’ feet
bathe in the fine dust
of laterite
And their steps wildly chant
A frenzied rhythm

I still hear the quick notes
The muffled voice of the « commander »
Modulating in the warm evening air.

Then the backs bridge
One with the other
And the hips roll like swells
The bellies of the voluptuous dancers
Wave sensually…
And confused voices call out
Impudently.

I still perceive the staccatos
The rumblings of the “big drums”
Beyond the years of my childhood…
I carry them in me
Like stigmas.


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