I was born in Calabar, Nigeria and lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado with my wife and four children. I'm a computer engineer by trade, but poetry is my passion. My chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado is a Colorado Book Award Winner. In my spare time I snowboard, coach and play soccer, and train in American Kenpo. I am also an editor at Kin Poetry Journal.
Editor's Note: In his submission letter, Uche wrote: "I didn't get as much writing momentum as I'd hoped over the holidays, but as I often do when desperate, I turned to translation. Here is one I worked out from the rarely-anthologized early works of luminary West African poet Birago Diop. I included the original French text below my translation."
from the French of early Birago Diop
To search out from one's thoughts the shadows of dreams,
To search out in the dream a jot of the real,
In such fleeting minutes run mad at the seams
To search out eternity
And upon a dame's bod a note of appeal.
To believe all the vows despite all the lies
To believe in the goodly despite wicked ways
Despite the dread doubt which gnaws us and grinds
To believe in truth
And despite the clouding believe in clear rays.
To love, love each hour and all misses
To love despite treacheries, vanities
To love what troubles, what brings the soul blisses
What has it in tears
And ever to wish, seek, fledge unity.
Chercher dans ses pensées les ombres de ses rêves,
Chercher dans le rêve un peu de réalité;
Dans la course folle des minutes si brèves
Et sur un corps de femme un peu de beauté.
Croire à tous les serments, malgré tous les mensonges,
Croire à la Bonté malgré les méchancetés,
Malgré le doute affreux qui broie et qui nous ronge
Croire à la Vérité,
Et malgré l’obscurité croire à la clarté.
Aimer, aimer chaque heure et toutes les femmes,
Aimer malgré les trahisons, les vanités,
Aimer ce qui peine, aimer ce qui réjouit l’âme,
Ce qui la fait pleurer,
Et toujours vouloir, chercher, ailer l’Unité.
Birago Diop - 1906-1989
©2016 Uche Ogbuji