Words Like Worlds Must Flourish

“When the Ivory Coast poet Bernard B. Dadie’ writes: “Stars in profusion, pure as the eyes of Sages, will be as brilliant as the destiny of men.” this is not a description of a future occurance, but an invocation of it. The stars are to shine. The event is created in the vision. The vision is always an imperative addressed to time; the future is commanded how it is to be. For ‘time-and-space-in-one’, Hantu, constitutes a force of its own and is as such, like all forces, subject to the command of the muntu. Thus when he puts his vision even back into the past, the poet is commanding time, as if the order were already executed and irrevocably accomplished. In the alternation of future, imperfect and present, the incantation acquires its greatest force and becomes a single imperative:

Farmer strike the soil with your daba:

in the soil there is haste that the syllable of the

event be not disentangled.

I remember the famous plague which will happen in the 3000

there was no announcing star

but only the earth in a flood without stony pebbles of space

a bread of grass and of prison

strike farmer strike

the first day the birds shall die

the second day the fishes were grounded

the third day the animals came out of the woods.”

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