Clayton Eshleman & A. James Arnold: Aimé Césaire Translation


For Pierre Loeb

My horse stumbles over skulls hopscotched in rust

my horse rears in a storm of clouds which are putrefactions of shipwrecked flesh

my horse neighs in the fine rain of roses and sentiments that my blood creates in the

scenery of the street fairs

my horse stumbles over the clumps of cacti that are the entangled vipers of my torments

my horse stumbles neighs and stumbles toward the curtain of blood of my blood pulled

down on all the pimps shooting craps for my blood

my horse stumbles before the impossible flame of the barrier howled at by

the vesicles of my blood

my horse rears before the great pillar of hyacinth perfectly pure that rises to the glory of

the lord and descends to the depths of the shit of my blood

my horse rears before a beryl lamp made from fireflies peddled by my blood

I saw too a great horse of ardent peace that dashed forward pawing the ground from a

season of rains of mollusks of an anger of hair of a harangue of pyramids of a camisole of old

corks of a confusion of mushroom spittle

great horse my blood to be spilled in public squares

my blood in which from time to time a woman in solar perfection shoots out all her

tuberous stems and vanishes in a tornado born on the far side of the world

my blood for a foot freshly repainted as a gibbet

my blood that no canonization has ever soiled

my blood the wine of a drunkard’s vomit

my blood that no paid off judge has ever heard

I give it to you great horse

I give you my ears to be made into nostrils capable of quivering

my hair to be made into a mane as wild as they come

my tongue to be made into mustang hooves

I give them to you

great horse

so that you approach at the extreme limit of brotherhood

the men of elsewhere and of tomorrow

on your back a child of the furrow with barely moving lips

who for you

will disarm

the chlorophyllian crumb of the vast ravens of the future.

Translated by Clayton Eshleman and A. James Arnold