Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 29, 2018

‘Les lignes de nos mains’ / ‘The Lines of Our Hands’ by Bernard Dadié

Bernard Dadie

Bernard Dadie (Source: Presence Africaine)

One of Côte d’Ivoire’s most prolific writer is, without a doubt,  Bernard Binlin Dadié, the maestro. Some of his poems have been translated in many languages, while others have been set to music for movies, such as “Dry your tears” which was set to music for the Steven Spielberg movie Amistad. Bernard Dadié is a man whose work and versatility have blessed countless people around the globe.

Please enjoy ‘Les lignes de nos mains / The Lines of Our Hands‘ which was published in La Ronde des Jours, Edition Pierre Seghers, 1956. The English translation is by Dr. Y.,



Les Lignes de nos mains‘ /  ‘The Lines of Our Hands‘ by Bernard Dadié

Les lignes de nos mains

Ne sont point des parallèles

des chemins de montagnes

des gerçures sur troncs d’arbres

des traces de luttes homériques.


Les lignes de nos mains

ne sont point des longitudes

des boyaux en tranchées

des sillons dans des plaines

des raies en chevelures

des pistes dans la broussaille


Elles ne sont point

des ruelles pour les peines

des canaux pour les larmes

des rigoles pour les haines

des cordes pour pendus

ni des portions

ni des tranches

ni des morceaux

        De ceci… de cela…


Les lignes de nos mains

        ni Jaunes



ne sont point des frontières

des fosses entre nos villages

des filins pour lier des faisceaux de rancoeurs.


Les lignes de nos mains

sont des lignes de Vie

       de Destin

       de Coeur


de douces chaînes

qui nous lient

les uns aux autres,

Les vivants aux morts.


Les lignes de nos mains

        ni blanches

        ni noires

        ni jaunes,


Les lignes de nos mains

Unissent les bouquets de nos rêves.

The Lines of Our Hands

Are not parallels

Of mountain paths

Cracks on tree trunks

Traces of Homeric battles.


The lines of our hands

Are not longitudes

Of trench casings

Furrows in plains

Rays in hair

Paths in the bush


They are not

Alleys of pain

Channels of tears

Channels of hate

Strings for hanged /lynching/hanging

Nor portions

Nor slices

Nor parts

       Of this… of that…


The lines of our hands

        Not yellow



Are not boundaries

Pits/ditches between our villages

Ropes to bind rancor bundles.


The lines of our hands

Are life lines

       Destiny lines

       Heart lines

       Love lines.

Soft chains

Which bind (link) us

One to the other,

The living to the dead.


The lines of our hands

        Not white

        Not black

        Nor yellow,


The lines of our hands

Unite the bouquets of our dreams.


  1. Hi,
    Thank you for this site. It is very helpful to me as I teach French-speaking students who are learning English. I have put a link to one of Dadie’s poems that you translated on the Wikipedia site for Bernard Dadie. I hope that is okay.


    • Hello Kate, yes… thank you for sharing, and feel free to put links to the blog on Wikipedia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: