Online Texts for Craig White's Literature Courses

from part 1 of

Prayer for Peace



Leopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001)
[poet & first president of Senegal, former French colony]

dedicated to Georges and Claude Pompidou
[Prime Minister, President of France in 1960s-70s + first lady) ]

Lord Jesus, at the end of this book, which I offer You
As a ciborium of sufferings                                                [ciborium = receptacle for Eucharist or Communion wine]
At the beginning of the Great Year, in the sunlight           [reference to end of World War 2 in 1945?]
Of Your peace on the snowy roofs of Paris
—Yet I know that my brothers' blood will once more redden              5
The yellow Orient on the shores of the Pacific
Ravaged by storms and hatred
I know that this blood is the spring libation                           [libation = offering, sacrifice, usu. of wine]
The Great Tax Collectors have used for seventy years
To fatten the Empire's lands                                                              10
Lord, at the foot of this cross—and it is no longer You
Tree of sorrow but, above the Old and New Worlds,
Crucified Africa,
And her right arm stretches over my land
And her left side shades America                                                       15
And her heart is precious Haiti, Haiti who dared          [ref. to Haitian Revolution against French colonial rule, 1791-94]
Proclaim Man before the Tyrant
At the feet of my Africa, crucified for four hundred years
And still breathing
Let me recite to You, Lord, her prayer of peace and pardon.             20