we Breaths By Birago Diop ~ Naija Poets

image is from urbansamurai website

Listen more often to things rather than beings.
Hear the fire's voice,
Hear the voice of the water.
In the wind hear the sobbing of the trees,
It is our forefathers breathing.

The dead are not gone for ever.
They are in the paling shadows,
And in the darkening shadows.
The dead are not beneath the ground,
They are in the rustling tree,
In the murmuring wood,
In the flowing water,
In the still water,
In the lonely place, in the crowd;
The dead are not dead

Listen more often to things rather than beings.
Hear the fire's voice.
Hear the voice of the water.
In the wind hear the sobbing of the trees.
It is the breathing of our forefathers
Who are not gone, not beneath the ground,
Not dead.

The dead are not gone forever.
They are in a woman's breast,
A child's crying, a glowing ember.
The dead are not beneath the earth,
They are in the flickering fire,
In the weeping plant, the groaning rock,
The wooded place, the home.
The dead are not dead.

copyright © Birago Diop (1906-1989)
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1. The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

2. Brunel International African Poetry Prize

3. Writing Contests, Grants & Awards | Poets & Writers

4. Mississippi Review Poetry Contest

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6. Gemini Magazine Poetry Open

7. The Colorado Review Prize for Poetry

8. USA Gold Pencils Student Poetry Contest

9. The Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize

10. The Backwaters Prize

11. Black River Chapbook Competition

12. Grist's Pro Forma Writing Contest

13. Tethered by Letters 2020 Spring Literary Contest

14. Juxtaprose 2020 Poetry Contest

15. The Cossack Review's October Poetry Prize

16. Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

17. TIFERET Writing Contest

18. Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest

19. The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award

20. Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award