Translation Tuesday: Three Poems by Landa wo

What to do with these hands and these orphan caresses

This week we are proud to feature three poems by the Angolan-French poet Landa wo, in which he blends enquiries into human nature with nature itself, and transforms the silence and stillness of the world into the qualities of song. We hope you enjoy it, and don’t miss next week’s Translation Tuesday! 


Let words burn
While saying the truth
For I, the poet,
I would not keep her on a leash.


Amidst Dunes

Where the oasis lulls the hollow of the wind
When the nomads pray
For a fresh and cool night
Where there are grudgeless skies
For the explorer who has lost sight of his caravan.
I’m sinking into the night
Where the stars are fireflies
I fall asleep and dreams take over
Amid two ravines and sleek hips
Of a woman, whose hair
Is nothing but thorns

And Then

And then
What do we do with sea winds
That caress the hill without staggering?
And then
What to do with the tweak that lies at the bottom of an ocean
At a time when birds abscond?

And then
What to do with these hands and these orphan caresses
When a shell crashes into the God’s placket leaving the grass intact.

Nothing. One must live as in the time of the dinosaurs. We must go forward to go and die up a hill. Weapon dealers will sell puffed rice and the acrimonious gods will become men again

Translated from the French by the author. 

Landa wo is a poet from Angola, Cabinda and France. His work has previously appeared in Cultura, Blackmail Press, Boyne Berries, Cyphers, Nashville Review, Nebo: A Literary Journal, Poetry New Zealand, Raleigh Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Star 82 Review, The Cape Rock, and Weyfarers among others. Landa wo has won a number of awards, including first prize in the Metro Eireann writing competition, Eist poetry competition and Feile Filiochta international poetry competition.


Read more translations from the Asymptote blog: