Aimé Césaire

…my Negritude is not a stone, its
deafness a sounding board for
the noises of the day
my Negritude is not a mere spot of
dead water on the dead eye of
the earth
my Negritude is no tower, no cathedral

it cleaves into the red flesh of the
teeming earth
it cleaves into the glowing flesh of
the heavens
it penetrates the seamless bondage of
my unbending patience

Hoorah for those who have never invented
anything
for those who never explored anything
for those who never mastered anything

but who, possessed, give themselves up
to the essence of each thing
ignorant of the coverings but possessed
by the pulse of things
indifferent to mastering but taking the
chances of the world…

Listen to the white world
its horrible exhaustion from its
immense labours
its rebellious joints cracking under
the pitiless stars
its blue steel rigidities, cutting
through the mysteries of the
flesh
listen to their vainglorious conquests
trumpeting their defeats
listen to the grandiose alibis of their
pitiful floundering
[…]
But in so doing, my heart, preserve
me from all hate
do not turn me into a man of hate of
whom I think only with hate
for in order to project myself into
this unique race
you know the extent of my boundless
love
you know that it is not from hatred
of other races
that I seek to be cultivator of this
unique race…
[…]
for it is not true that work of man
is finished
that man has nothing more to do in the
world but be a parasite in the world
that all we now need is to keep in step
with the world
but the work of man is only just beginning
and it remains to man to conquer all
the violence entrenched in the recesses
of his passion
and no race possesses the monopoly of beauty,
of intelligence, of force, and there
is a place for all at the rendezvous
of victory

Caheirs d’un retour au pays natal (Statement of a Return to the Country Where I was Born)

For more on Césaire: http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Cesaire.html

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