‘Petty Tyrants’ by Conceição Lima (tr. Amanda Hopkinson)

a nutshell: first published in Lima’s collection Dolorosa raiz micondó (Painful root of Micondó), this poem is a short & stark impression of petty tyrants

a line: “They don’t know that clock hands are also blindly tyrannical”

an image: I was especially struck by the poet’s vivid description of petty tyrants blindfolding sparkling eyes, letting no light enter

a thought: I loved Lima’s repetitions throughout the poem, mirroring the ways in which petty tyrants themselves (meagre, narrow, slow) try to replicate what’s come before, rather than give space to progress – amplifying the echo of their perpetual childhood

a fact: born in Santana on the island of São Tomé in 1961, Lima studied journalism in Portugal and worked across radio, television & the press in São Tomé

want to read ‘Petty Tyrants’? visit here

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