For flutes

A hand of light caressed my eyelids of darkness And your smile rose like the sun on the mists drifting grey and cold over my Congo. My heart has echoed the virgin song of the dawn-birds As my blood kept time once to the white song of the sap in the branches of my arms. See, the bush flower and the star in my hair, and the band round the forehead of the herdsman athlete. I will take the flute, I will make a rhythm for the slow peace of the herds And all day sitting in the shade of your eyelashes, close to the Fountain of Fimla, I shall faithfully pasture the flaxen lowings of your herds. For this morning a hand of light caressed my eyelids of darkness And all day long my heart has echoed the virgin song of the birds. This poem is reprinted from the book ``Nocturnes,'' which in 1963 received the prestigious Grand Prix International de Po'esie, given by the Society of Poets and Artists of France. At the time of its publication, the poet was President of Senegal. (English translation by John Reed and Clive Wake published by The Third Press, N.Y.)

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