Peregrination by Louis-Philippe Dalembert

This is part of a series on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Translated from the French by Ghjulia Romiti.


I wander through paris, empty
of our laughter of our frenzy
absent from our absence
the spring sun
shines uselessly
stripped of our meanderings
of the lovers’ kisses
and their knowing hands
along the canal saint-martin

I wander through paris
who no longer knows our names
silent from our laughter
and our pale anguish
the black and naked sun
has a faded smell of hunger
in the eyes of a child from my island
one-eyed and dirty
with silence
with lost arrogance and banter
like a harlot from another time
worn out with syphilis and artificial paradises
paris ultimate reÎge
paris with the empty rhythm
of our planetarˆ doubts
nothing is certain anymore
neither the devil nor the good lord
nothing except the delusion
of slow days
of silence
on the shrunken balcony of the building across the street
a little girl in the flush of life
invents her first steps
suspended in the air

all to her discoverˆy
eyes riveted on tomorrow
that opens underneath her feet
she brandishes an indifferent smile
to the adequate applause
of the neighbors from the building next door
as the crows
with their insolent sneers
rip open-throated
through the city crushing silence

the night just like the toddler’s steps
hesitates in this beginning of the spring

I wander through my room
in the void

April 3, 2020



Louis-Philippe Dalembert (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1962) is among the most important Haitian writers of his generation. He is a poet, novelist, short story writer, and essayist. His books, praised by critics in France and abroad, have been translated into several languages and include L’île du bout des rêves (2003), Noires blessures (2011), Avant que les ombres s’effacent (2017), and Mur Méditerranée (2019). His novel Epi oun jou konsa tèt Pastè Bab pati (2007) is written in Haitian Creole. The Other Side of the Sea was published in 2014. Dalembert lives in Paris and Port-au-Prince.

This excerpt from And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again: Writers from Around the World on the COVID-19 Pandemic is published by permission of Restless Books. Copyright © 2020 Restless Books.

Published on August 4, 2020.


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