Friday, April 18, 2008

Adieu, Aimé Césaire

One of the French teachers at school asked me yesterday if I'd heard that Aimé Césaire had died. I hadn't, but soon found these articles. People at Global Voices Online are remembering him. Here's some more on his life and work (in French).

Aimé Césaire wrote in the 1930s:

Eia pour le Kaïlcédrat royal!
Eia pour ceux qui n’ont jamais rien inventé
pour ceux qui n’ont jamais rien exploré
pour ceux qui n’ont jamais rien dompté

mais ils s’abandonnent, saisis, à l’essence de toute chose
ignorants des surfaces mais saisis par le mouvement de toute chose
insoucieux de dompter, mais jouant le jeu du monde…

Here's an English translation of these lines (from here):

Eia for the royal Cailcedra!
Eia for those who have never invented anything
for those who never explored anything
for those who never conquered anything

but yield, captivated, to the essence of all things
ignorant of surfaces but captivated by the motion of all things
indifferent to conquering, but playing the game of the world...

The Cailcedra, according to my Littérature Francophone Anthologie, is a large tree in West Africa, under which people often meet to tell stories and talk together.

Adieu, Aimé Césaire.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is at The Well-Read Child.


Anonymous said...

That's beautiful, even in ENglish.

At first I thought, "Yay for me and the others who've never invented explored or conquered!" Then I realized there's probably no one alive who hasn't done these things...

Jenny Schwartzberg said...

Merci beaucoup! That is a great poem and I went and explored your links. I had never heard of Cesaire before either and I will have to go find an anthology of his poetry now. Thanks for introducing me to him.

Ruth said...

Well, just to clarify - I had heard of him before, just hadn't heard he'd died. Not that you care. But just saying. :-)