‘Francophone’: the state of being a French-speaker without necessarily being French.
Writing in your second language is harder because the expressions make the journey from heart to mind (and from feelings to words) less organically. You have to push a bit and rummage about. It can also be more fun, because you’re less limited by painful awareness of the social and linguistic nuances of what you’re saying. You put less pressure on yourself to get it right because it’s a bit of a shot in the dark anyway. Result? More freedom.
At the recent International Day for Francophonie, there was an open mic in Barcelona. We did some poems.
Here is me.
Here is a poem of mine, with translation below.
Whom the world
When they are
To the tears that flow through our bellies!
We digest them so gently
For fear of hearing.
For fear that everything might collapse.
Our hearts sing an unheard song.
Do we no longer believe in melodies
Or know that they dissolve weapons?
I’m sick of this fatal silence
That consumes my energy and my wellbeing.
What of our children? Our silence
Will drown them!
Better they hear
Our cries and groans:
They’ll find freshness in the shower
Of our lamentations.
If this cage still has its drums,
Then, in this night that we share with those suffering,
We shall welcome the aria of the moon
The bells of the stars, and the ringing of the sky.
Never cease to beat the rhythm of our sorrow
So that those who come from our bellies
Have hearts made of music
Salted with our tears.