Friday, November 16, 2018

Aimé Césaire--Poet, Statesman, Game Designer

Aimé Fernand David Césaire was a poet and activist, a founder (along with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas) of the négritude movement among the pre-war African diaspora, and served as president of Martinique in the 1980s.

In 1960 he published several random encounter tables disguised as poems, translated here by Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith:

Patience of Signs (D20)

1 sublime excoriations of a flesh fraternal and whipped to the point of rebellious fires in a thousand villages

2 arenas

3 fire

4 hulls prophetic masts

5 fire

6 breeding ground for moray eels

7 fire riding lights of an island truly in distress

8 fires frantic tracks of haggard herds which in the mud are spelled

9 pieces of raw flesh

10 suspended spittings

11 a sponge dripping sour wine

12 a fiery waltz of lawns strewn with the cornets that fall from the broken surge of great Tabebuias

14 fires shards lost in a desert of fears and cisterns

15 dried up fires never too dry for a worm to beat their tolling its new flesh

16 blue seeds of fire

17 fire of fires

18 witness of eyes which crazed for vengeance exhume themselves and expand

19 pollen pollen

20 and along the sands where the nocturnal berries of sweet manchineels swell rich oranges always accessible to the sincerity of long long thirsts

Beautiful Spurted Blood (D10)

1 trophy head

2 lacerated limbs

3 deadly sting

4 beautiful spurted blood

5 lost warblings

6 ravished shores

7 childhoods childhoods a tale too stirred up

8 dawn on its chain ferocious snapping to be born

9 oh belated assassin

10 the bird with feathers once more beautiful than the past demands an accounting for its scattered plumes


Zak Sabbath said...


Since you are a harasser you're banned from commenting.

shughr said...

Wow. Do you happen to know where this was first published? Or if the original French is available in a collection anywhere?

Zak Sabbath said...


I don't know the original publisher but the poems were originally published in a book called "Ferrements". My translation came from Aime Cesaire: The Collected Poetry which is a bilingual edition containing original french on the left and english on the right.

Troy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zak Sabbath said...


yeah--he's quite wonderful :)