Touch Me

When I'm released
I will ask anyone
          to touch me

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!

Translation 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'.


1 Marwa

very touching

2 Muyundo Ndinyo

its realy a masterpiece of poetry

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