Ismael Diadié Haidara (Timbuktu (Mali-1957) is a historian, philosopher and poet who lives in Spain. He is currently the president of the Kati Fundation in Spain, and Director of Kati Fond in Mali. He is the author of several books, Le statut du monde. Nécessité, possibilité et contingence chez Ibn Arabi, Cordoue, 1992; Yawdar Pasha y la conquista saudí del Songhay (1591-1599) Instituto de Estudios almerienses, 1993 and Rabat 1996; L’Espagne musulmane et l’Afrique subsaharienne, Editions Donniya, Bamako, 1997; Les Juifs à Tombouctou, Editions Donniya, Bamako, 1999 ; (en colaboración con Manuel Pimentel) Los otros Españoles, mr ediciones, Madrid, 2004 ; Los últimos Visigodos, rd editores, Sevilla, 2003 ; Las lamentaciones del viejo Tombo, Maremoto, Málaga, 2006 ; Abana, Rihla, Córdoba, Almuzara, 2006 ; Monólogo de un carnero, Árbol de Poe, Malaga, 2012; Zimma, Vaso Roto México, 2014; (en colaboración con Manuel Pimentel) Tombuctú, Andaluces en la ciudad pérdida del Sáhara, Almuzara,2015. Une cabane au bord de l’eau, ediciones del Genal, Málaga, 2015; Sahel, ediciones del Genal, Málaga, 2017; Tebrae pour ma mère, ediciones del Genal, Málaga, 2017; Diario de un bibliotecario de Tombuctú, Almazara, 2017; De Toledo a Tombuctú, conversaciones con Ismael Diadié Haidara (con Antonio Llaguno Rojas) Ginger Ape Books & Films; Edición, 2018. De la Sobriedad, Almuzara, Córdoba 2020.
The sandals of Ulysses
That you sail the seas on ships with great sails
or that you go on paths of mountains and snow
you will always walk with the sandals of Ulysses
Sometimes on the stakes you will tie yourself to flee from the sirens
you will spend time on distant islands between lights and silks
but you will always walk with the sandals of Ulysses
Far wars will surprise you and precarious peace
You will discover harsh deserts and deep deserts
You will always walk with the sandals of Ulysses
You will not have lands to discover or rivers
Your homeland will be the language in which mothers song in childhood
and always in the language of mothers you will dream of Penelope.
This time of mine
I write poems to have a place where I can breathe
As I keep the windows closed and the lights off
I see better the dragonfly and my childhood running around in a field of wheat.
I write a poem to have a path of wheat and mountains
While on my ways I walk and look there at infinity
the flight of the herons and the floating clouds comes closer to me
I’m not sorry for being just from a world of words without rhymes
This time of mine burns for its rivers and its forests
Where will man live if with the poem he does not make heaven and wings?
After the nap, I water bougainvilleas, palm trees, and weeping willows.
When the sun went down a butterfly fluttered among the flowers,
a reddish dragonfly was flying over the fish pond
I go down to the chicken coop with the remains of tomatoes, carrot, potatoes
The silent geese were still under the trees.
They look at me, I look at them. We do not know each other.
What are we going to say among strangers?
Maybe they are so happy to be locked up here
like me from living in exile.
Translated from Spanish by Virginia Fernandez Collado