Thursday, 19 September 2013

Aimé Césaire
Aimé Césaire

I'd like to thank my friend Martine for introducing me to the poetry of Martinican wordsmith Aimé Césaire, whilst on my recent visit to Ireland.

My French is non-existent, however she had a collection that had been translated, with the french on the left and English on the right. All I remember is that the cover was white with black writing, so I shall ask what it was called and add a link shortly.

He's sort of like Edward Lear for adults. Martine says that he received criticism as his poems are a collection of words, one after the other, without obvious meaning or sense. That may indeed be what they are: a collection of words. Though they are beautiful words, and that is the difference. Unusual words, stylish words, blunt words and wondrous words. Even the words I don't understand have a quality about them which makes me enjoy not understanding them. I think he's quite brilliant.

Here's the first poem Martine showed me. Decide for yourself.


flight of cays of manchineels of pebbles of a stream ballista intimacy of the breath
all the water of Kananga capsizes from Ursa Major into my eyes
my eyes of Indian ink of Saint-Pierre assassinated
my eyes of summery execution and of back against the wall
my eyes which riot against the edict of mercy
my eyes defying the assassins from under the dead ash
of a thousand pure challanges of Jericho roses
O my eyes unbaptized unrescripted
my eyes of a frantic scorpaena and of a dagger without a roxelane
I will not let the ibis of the incredible investiture go from my blazing hands.

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