Breaths By Birago Diop Analysis Essay

Ganhar, ganhando, ganho, de Bill Viola: Birago Diop, senegalês.

Breaths
Birago Diop

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

The dead are not gone forever.
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 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 for ever.
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.

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

. . .
"Senegalese poet and story-teller, who recorded traditional oral folktales of the Wolof people. Birago Diop's work helped to reestablish general interest in the African folktales published in European languages. Diop was also one of the most prominent African francophone writers." (daqui)

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Birago Diop

(1906-89)

Senegalese poet and story-teller, a prominent African francophone writer, who recorded traditional oral folktales of the Wolof people. Birago Diop's work helped to reestablish general interest in the African folktales published in European languages. 'Souffles', perhaps his most famous poem, is considered the "poetic exegesis of animism" within the Negritude movement (Wole Soyinka,The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness, 1999).

In his childhood he heard stories told by his family's griot, which he later used in his own literary work. Moreover, his two older brothers, Massyla and Youssoupha, encouraged from early on his scholarly and literary pursuits. Diop attended a Koranic school and in 1921 he moved to , then the capital of , where studied on a scholarship at Lycée Faidherbe, and wrote his first poems. A voracious reader, he frequented libraries. His favorite authors included Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset, Edgar Allan Poe, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. After obtaining his baccalauréate and serving a year in the colonial army, Diop went to to study veterinary medicine at the . [metropolis]

In Paris Diop met many African, Black American, and students. Among them was his fellow countryman and poet Leopold Senghor, who later became the first president of independent . Diop participated actively in the Negritudemovement created by these young poets, artists, and intellectuals—the concept of négritude was elaborated by Aimé Césaire, Senghor, and Léon-Gontran Damas and defined as "affirmation that one is black and proud of it." Diop contributed to Léopold Senghor's newspaper L'Etudiant noir and several Diop's early poems appeared in 1948 in Senghor's famous Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, an important landmark of modern black writing in French.

'Souffles' (Breaths / Spirits / Forefathers), with the theme of unity of all things—living and dead—with nature, became one of the most anthologized poems of the movement: "Listen more often to things rather than beings. / Hear the fire's voice, / Hear the voice o water. / In the wind hear the sobbing of the trees, / It is our forefathers breathing." (in 'Forefathers', An African Treasury, selected by Langston Hughes, 1960)

Diop graduated in 1933 and after completing his studies, he left for . In 1934 he married Marie-Louise Pradére, a white French womansuch marriages were rare in those days. During the early 1940s, following the Nazi occupation of , he spent involuntarily two years in . Because of the travel restrictions, he was unable to return to his home country until after the Liberation. Diop contacted again his old friends, Damas, Senghor, and Alioune Diop and devoted his time to writing folktale adaptations, which appeared in literary journals.

Diop returned to West Africa to inspect cattle and treat sick animals in French Sudan, , (now ), , and . After a long career as a government veterinary surgeon, Diop served as 's ambassador to from 1961 to 1965. He then settled in and opened a veterinary clinic.

While working in the colonial service and traveling in the rural areas by canoe, horseback, car and foot, Diop encountered bush people and learned of the Wolof traditions and oral literature. The most important contact for him was the 60-year-old griot Amadou Koumba Ngom, a professional storyteller and oral historian, whom Diop met in the late 1930s. His tales Diop incorporated in the award-winning Les Contes d'Amadou Koumba (1947), Les nouveaux Contes d'Amadou Koumba (1958), which included an essay by Senghor, and Contes et lavanes (1963), which contained new material, Wolof riddles, and aphorisms. (The Wolof is the most prevalent indigenous language spoken in .)

http://kirjasto.sci.fi/bdiop.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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