Salem Zenia. (Algeria / Sapin), 1962. Born in Fréha, Tizi-Ouzou) is amazigh writer poet and novelist. He studied in Frèha and plater in Azazga High School and journalism in the Universalis Institut of Liège Belgium.He has worked as a journalist for several publications and participated in several amazigh claming movements. In 1998 he founded his own newspaper Racines/Izuran, a French/Tamazight bilingual biweekly oriented towards the promotion of the Berber culture and literature and was awarded with the honour diploma of Tamazgha association in Paris.He has published the poetry collections Les rêves de Yidir/Tirga n Yidir (The Dreams of Yidir, 1993) and Printemps/Tifeswin (Spring, 2004), both in French/Tamazight bilingual editions and the novels Tafrara (Dawn, 1995) and Iɣ il d wefru (Power and Sword, 2003), all published in Paris by the publisher Harmattan.



Foul Age


My heart moved by pity

questions this foul age:

“What has become of my brothers,

what spiteful wind has blown


 stifled their breath

dried up all their love

clipped their fledgling wings?

A wind that sows hatred


and burns the flowers’ buds.”

My heart cries with grief

and questions this ugly age:

“What has become then of those


who went down together,

brother souls well-met,

eager for victory?


 On this scene of life

you vowed to write in blood

the lovely cry of Liberty!”


 You, mother, planted at the door

searching with tired eyes

to see if your sapling arrives.

Blood has fallen to the dust,

this earth waters itself

with their innocent breasts.

Yes, the cruel have violated

these beardless youths,

and your son will never return.




A Leash for God


You made man a hollow shell

a rock in his mouth.

You made peace a chimera

all hope has fled.


Thorns gnaw at your hearts

life hangs by a thread.

You stuffed the world in a sack

and put God on a leash


 Palm Tree


I climb the palm in haste

to have its fruit

I’ve adorned myself

bringing war to his back

my breath is cut off

in the clutch of his mouth

my heart nearly bursts

and rises to the sky

I climb the palm’s embrace

and melt into butter

he sits tenderly

on my hardened lap

the plough digs earth everywhere

finds the dry earth is wet

the eye cannot hold its tear

a spring inside the fount





Oh moon, we behold you together

I on this bank

and she beyond the water.

Tell her that my soul hurts

my heart is wretched

she inhabits my whole being.

I can’t swallow anything

when your memory haunts me.

The days slip away

have you noticed?

and with them the good times.

Love binds us,

solid and whole,

 engraved on our bones.

I live on your memory

when it haunts me.

You taught me life’s ways

my love for you overflows.

We made the stars our home.

Even the riverbanks

will be jealous

the day we meet.

I trace paths to the moon

when your memory haunts me.




Yir zman


Si leɣbayen ul-iw yuɣḍaḍ

ttreɣ zman amessas

amek teḍra d wayetma

Yewwet-d waḍu d ajenṭaḍ


yekcem-asen d afessas

tayri‐nni d‐ṛebban telma

Yerẓa-n deg iffer am yegḍaḍ

yerna‐yasen-d aserdas


yesserwet ajeǧǧig ur yegma

Si leɣbayen ul-iw iru

ttreɣ zman ucmit

amek I d yid‐sen teḍra


Yal adrar la d‐iserru

ulawen gan timlilit

tikkelt-a temmed nnmara


Yak tennam ad a naru

s idammen ɣef tfelwit

tilelli tezwi tmara !


Kem yeggunin amnar

tiṭ ur terkid

ad d‐yejbu umenzu n tasa

Yerwet yidim deg unnar

akal ad yirid

yefka‐ken ay imelsa

Bu tirwas yurar

s temẓi ur nemmid

n mmi-m

ur d-nusa





Terram amdan d aɣerrus

deg imi‐s teẓẓam tablaṭ

Talwit yid-wen ur tettrus

asirem ibeddel tamaṭ


Tasa temɣi d akermus

tudert tebded di ssiraṭ

Tegrem dunnit deg uwemmus

terram i Ṛebbi taqlaṭ




Uliɣ tazdayt s leḥmeq

ad d‐ččeɣ deg iɛeqqayen‐is

Beggseɣ tiɣelt d uberwaq

sawḍeɣ ṭṭrad ɣer yiri‐s

Yak yekkaw deg--‐i lmenṭeq

mi d‐yeččur yimi-w d imi‐s

Ul‐iw yedda ad ifelleq

ssuṛa-w tuffeg ur tris

Uliɣ tazdayt tḥennec‐i

fsiɣ am udi n temɣart

Greɣ irebbi d aquran

tegr‐d ammas d imleɣwi

Tagwersa tnuda akk tamurt

tufa ttra deg uɣurar

Tiṭ tneffeg d imeṭṭi

di tala yegr lɛinser




Ay aggur nettani di sin

Nekk agwemmaḍ

Nettat akin i waman

Inn‐as afwad-iw sennin

Ul‐iw yuɣḍaḍ

Tzedɣeḍ-iyi deg iẓuran

Ur ttafent abrid tleqqmin

mi kem-id‐mmektiɣ

Ussan-nneɣ zerrin

ma yella tḥulfaḍ

ɣas ayen iɛeddan

Tayri-nni I ɣ‐yezdin

ur tesmammaḍ

tewcem deg yeɣsan

Ttidireɣ s tkatutin

mi kem-id-mmektiɣ

Temmleḍ-i timeddurin

tayri‐m deg-i tfaḍ

nezdeɣ ɣef yetran

Ass‐nni n temlilin

cfu ula d igemmaḍ

fell‐aɣ ad gen tismin

S aggur greɣ tiberdatin

mi kem‐id-mmektiɣ