Sunday, 21 June 2020

French poetry appreciation: Chère frère blanc by Léopold Sédar Senghor

Bonjour tout le monde!

There has been lots in the news about the Black Lives Matter movement and I think at Bannockburn we do a really great job of promoting values like respect, equality, tolerance and fairness, as well as making sure everyone learns about diversity, equal opportunities and how society has changed through history.

Whilst doing some reading of my own, I came across this brilliantly thought-provoking French poem
calle Chère frère blanc or Dear White Brother in English by poet Léopold Sédar Senghor.

You can listen to the poem and follow it using the link below and the text - use your knowledge of the colours and to help work out the meaning of the different sentences.

Chère Frère Blanc (narrated):

Cher frère blanc,

Quand je suis né, j'étais noir,
Quand j'ai grandi, j'étais noir,
Quand je suis au soleil, je suis noir,
Quand je suis malade, je suis noir,
Quand je mourrai, je serai noir.

Tandis que toi, homme blanc,
Quand tu es né, tu étais rose,
Quand tu as grandi, tu étais blanc,
Quand tu vas au soleil, tu es rouge,
Quand tu as froid, tu es bleu,
Quand tu as peur, tu es vert,
Quand tu es malade, tu es jaune,
Quand tu mourras, tu seras gris.

Alors, de nous deux,
Qui est l'homme de couleur ?

If you want to find out more about the author - a Senegalese poet, write, politician and campaigner called Léopold Sédar Senghor there is biographical video link below.

Biography of Léopold Sedar Sénghor