Césaire and Baudelaire Translations

Day and Night

the sun the hangman the upsurge of the masses the routine of dying and my squeal of a wounded beast and so it is into the infinite of the fevers the tremendous dam of death bombarded by my eyes my own and aleutian that of earth of worm search through earth and verse for your eyes of the flesh of the sun like a pickaninny boy a coin in water where the virgin forest doesn’t fail to sing sprung out from the silence of the world of my eyes my own and aleutian and that’s how the salty leap-frog of hermaphroditic thoughts of the calls of jaguars of a spring of savanna antelope picked from branches throughout their first great adventure: the marvelous cyathium underneath which a pretty nymph is stripping her leaves amidst the milk of the manchineel-trees and the accolades of the fraternal leeches.

– translated by Alexandre Rodallec

Jour et Nuit

le soleil le bourreau la poussée des masses la routine de mourir et mon cri de bête blessée et c’est ainsi jusqu’à l’infini des fièvres la formidable écluse de la mort bombardée par mes yeux à moi-même aléoutiens qui de terre de ver cherchent parmi terre et vers tes yeux de chair de soleil comme un négrillon la pièce d ans l’eau où ne manque pas de chanter la forêt vierge jaillie du silence de la terre de mes yeux à moi-même aléoutiens et c’est ainsi que le saute-mouton salé des pensées hermaphrodites des appels de jaguars de source d’antilope de savanes cueillies aux branches à travers leur première grande aventure: la cyathée merveilleuse sous laquelle s’effeuille une jolie nymphe parmi le lait des mancenilliers et les accolades des sangsues fraternelles.

– Aimé Césaire
Les armes miraculeuses, 1946

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the crewmen
Take albatrosses, vast birds of the seas,
That follow, indolent companions in travel,
The boat gliding over the acrid deeps.

Hardly have they placed them on the boards,
When these kings of the blue, clumsy and ashamed,
Piteously let their great white wings
Like oars drag along their sides.

This wingéd traveler, now how awkward and weak!
He, once so beautiful, now laughable, ugly!
One pokes his beak with a short hot pipe,
The other, limping, mimes the cripple who once flew!

The Poet is the like of the prince of skies
That haunts the storm and laughs at the archer;
Exiled on the ground in the middle of the cries
His wings of a giant prevent him from walking.

– translated by Alexandre Rodallec


Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.
À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.
Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid!
L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait!
Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher.

– Charles Baudelaire

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6 Responses to Césaire and Baudelaire Translations

  1. jaguarpress says:

    You can hear the jaguar’s voice in Aime Cesaire.

  2. Beautiful words (whether in French or English) 😉
    Keep em coming!

  3. Also I LOVE the new wordpress format. I think it looks really great especially with all the colors you chose for it.

  4. pi says:

    Interesting selections. I enjoy the format of Day and Night(carry it throughout, perhaps), along with your personal inferential choices:

    [. . . my squeal of a wounded beast. . . ] sexy!?

    [. . . her leaves amidst the milk of the manchineel-trees and the accolades of the fraternal leeches. . . ] whoa.

    [. . . search through earth and verse. . . ] the poem seeds you scatter, Alexander Poetree Seed.

    Great work here. Please, carry on.

  5. jaguarpress says:

    How lucid Baudilaire was, we now see Albatrosses dead in the ocean and on beaches. They’re eating of the plastic in the ocean and it fills their stomachs until they die.

    Note the amount of plastic lights, it’s almost like an advertisement for zippo.

  6. Rodallec says:

    the format is made to fit the side i think. in a way these poems are both a comment on the conscious elements of society, the segment aware of the larger happenings. the poet speaks to the poet about the poet and about society.

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