Touch Me

by Alamin Mazrui

When I'm released
I will ask anyone
          to touch me
                    delicately
                    sensitively
                              but
                              truly!

Touch me again
Make me know again
                    how life is
                    how life tastes
                               what life tastes like

I'm right here in front of you
Touch me again please!
Touch me!
Touch me!

The literal translation of this poem was made by Katriina Ranne

The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Notes

This poem was composed during Alamin Mazrui's long imprisonment by the Moi regime. We translated it fairly quickly. The main discussion we had was about the first line which, in Katriina's literal version, is 'When I leave detention(/from obstacles)'. We wanted to avoid 'detention' because of its association with being 'given detention' - staying after school following misbehaviour. Interestingly, the poet could have used the Swahili word for 'prison', but he went for the more ambiguous term which means an obstacle. In the end, we settled on 'When I'm released'.

Comments

  1. October 2nd, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Marwa says:

    very touching

  2. March 10th, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Muyundo Ndinyo says:

    its realy a masterpiece of poetry