Poèmes traduits en anglais

Toussaint Louverture

 

I recall

the trembling of the four walls of the Fort de Joux before the delirium of the gods,

the disarray of the ground, the torrents of agony flowing with mad and fierce blood !

Death or life ? Being or nothing ? Greetings, ruby mystery

Singular triumph ! Joy and vertigo !

Fall of the first man, oh the ineffable crime !

 

I recall, placed high in the sky,

Like a tower on the hill,

I recall your chant of inebriation and of victory !

The liveliness of your lament ! The offering to the divine night

I conjured dreams in seeing your fight

Replace the starry miracles in the heavens !

Let us wait to rest in the peace of the ramparts

Roses of dusk and of clear visions…

I must erect a temple of bamboos,

 

 

Drunk, I will spread my blood on your knees :

Still, he will know the ardor of sacrifice.

Will I try to conquer the altars that forbid

My imperial and sibylline gesture ?

I will focus on my fervent dreams while awaiting

my sovereign hour.

 

Dessalines

The despair is strong, for I have vanquished the night.

We will free these obscure lands of their horror.

Suspended about me, the ancestors, pure offerings,

Don’t incline your forehead any more like a bird that flees.

 

A god’s voice speaks to me in the death that follows you.

Haiti, me eyes love your unsurpassable beauty so

And I went guiding you on the impossible road

Where each step wounds you where each moment hurts you.

 

 

Now I listen in the void of my thought

To the evening wind that shakes your house,

A tragic demon deaf to the proud oration

That utters hope in the face of your unthinking hatred ;

 

Now that I know the shadow and the light

Have joined to cast over you their pale treason,

Your trial will be my glory and my reason,

And my arms ripped out, scorning prayer,

Will stretch out armed with a brave and beautiful glaive.

But out of man’s fight with the brute furies,

And out of the awful grip, and the sobs of struggle,

Will be born, laughing before the new day.

Author Biography

 

            Elvire Jean-Jacques Maurouard was born in Jérémie, Haiti in 1971.  She received a classical education in the humanities in Jérémie before leaving to pursue her university training in France.  She studied French culture and civilization at the Sorbonne and received an advanced degree in modern literature from the University of Paris VIII.  A French citizen, Maurouard currently teaches modern literature and languages near Paris, and will defend her doctoral thesis on tragic drama in the Haitian tradition in October 2003.  Her first book La femme noire dans le roman haïtien [The Black Woman in the Haitian Novel] appeared in 2001 (Paris, Éditions des Écrivains).  She has also written on race and gender in the poetry of Baudelaire, and is herself a poet.  Her contribution derives from a manuscript entitled Contes des îles savoureuses, a collection of lyrical poems about Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.

 

Translator

 

            Malick Ghachem is a historian of Haiti and a legal scholar.  His is currently writing a book entitled The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution.

 

 

 

 

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