some poems of Léon Laleau


This haunted heart that doesn't fit
My language or the clothes I wear
Chafes within the grip of
Borrowed feelings, European ways.
Do you feel my pain,
This anguish like none other
From taming with the words of France
This heart that came to me from Senegal?


This savage wish on certain days
To mingle blows and blood
With lovers motions,
To feel beneath the bites
That make the kisses last,
The sobbing of the loved one, and her pain:
     O fierce unquenched desires
          Of my dark forebears
               Who partook of human flesh!

(translated from the French: source)