17 Giugno 2024

My three flowers

(Poem dedicated to His Holiness Pope Francis)

Poem selected from The Blood of Words by Cheikh Tidiane Gaye, Kanaga Editions, 2018

Poem translated by Marie Orton


The first flower is born and does not die

love is its seed and its petals

they whisper its name in the belly of the flute.

Listen to its voice that says:

I was born between Bethlehem and Jerusalem

my body sustains the pain

the cries of children and women and men.

My name remains your effigy: love

to sing the humility of the greatest faithful one.

I carry with me the scars of abandoned glances

I carry with me the glances lost in the ocean

of suffering,

I carry with me the cry of hope

I am the flower that blossoms the love of the temple

I am the light of the holy spirit,

I am the dark glow of the spirit of peace

I am the crystal that sings the heaven of peace.

Flower, I call you Jesus because you are love.

I adorned Your name that knows no hell

and kindled the incense that perfumes my footsteps

the steps of your people, of our people.

When I think of you the room lights up

with heavenly glow

visible and invisible on the starry sky that praises you,

your heart has delivered me from injustice.


My second flower grows

And when it speaks it traces with its hands

The path of peace.

Peace you have been and peace you are

Listen, Israel:

The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.

I repeated it three times,

six times, nine times, twelve times

I have repeated it many times

I have whispered it to the plants

I have seeded it in your clouds

I have measured it in the verses of your prayers

I have offered it to those thirsty for peace

to weigh your deep love

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul and with all your strength.”

I have repeated your mystery

for you are that star that follows me

From dawn to dusk and guides me

you are the wind that refreshes the silence of my dark nights

You are that clear and sweet air,

That breezes my shadow, that embraces your shadow.

From the darkness reborn your shadow that remains

From the nest of my thoughts your breath enchants me.

You, Moses, follow me to embrace my footsteps

My body, my nails and my hair

From your mane, my wisdom.

What do I think of you? I write your name

On the doorposts of houses

For you are love and peace.

For you are the altar of Peace

For you are the Arch of Peace

For you are the honor of Peace.

For you are the heart of the word

For you are the lifeblood.


My third flower is born and still lives on

it lives everywhere, it is mercy

My flower white and fertile, red full of life

tall, caressing the mountains

sublime wayfarer who weaves the poetry of peace.

When my flower blooms it cheers the eloquent pupils

those glances of love and peace that are never born

in the barrenness of lands but in the richness of skies fertile with language.

This third flower of mine knows no blood

its scent is dense with fragrance

my flower I say to you:

I wish your heart were a well of honey

I wish your gaze were the horizon of monks

I wish, I wish your steps were the path of the children of Israel.

I believe in one faith


and my three flowers

I put them in a vase

to trace one faith

to carve one light

to sing one hymn

to wave one flag

and that flag is the church

and that flag is the synagogue

and that flag is the mosque.

I bring the vase and water it with one water alone

holy clear water

holy fragrant water

holy blessed water that will bathe the world.


My three flowers become a tree

shady and shading

welcoming and observant

That recites the silence of blessings

And fills the eyes with beautiful dreams.


My three flowers become one

born in the courteous court

that welcomes the alphabets of peace

and fills the eyes with beautiful dreams.


My three flowers become one

In the evening twilight

lights the waterfalls of firewood

and fills the eyes with beautiful dreams.


My three flowers become one

to profess the religion of love.

My three flowers become one

To gather

the pages of the Gospels

the Hebrew leaves

the surahs of the Koran.

My three leaves,

three children of Abraham

three syllables


Flower, you are the beloved faith.


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