I hear from the hold below the curses of the chained,
The hiccups of the dying, the splash of someone thrown
into the sea-
The baying of a woman in labour –the scraping of
Nails seeking throats –the chuckles of the whip;
The scurrying of vermin across worn-out bodies;
Nothing could provoke us toward any noble desperate
So be it. So be it.
I am of no nationality foreseen by the Chancelleries.
I defy the craniometer. Homo sum etc. –
Let them serve and betray and die.
So be it. So be it .It was written in the form of their
And I , and I,
I who sang the clenched fist.
You should know the extent of my cowardice.
To flee.my heart was full of generous hopes.
To flee – I should arrive lithe and young in this country
of mine and I should say to this land whose mud is
flesh of my flesh :’I wander for a long time and
I am retuning to the deserted foulness of your
I should come back to this land of mine and say to it :
‘Embrace me without fear –
If all I can do is speak, at least I shall speak for you.’
O I am to be pitie!
I do not ask for alms’
O you men with good conscience who have never
Murdered anyone ,never struck evil blows and whose
Dreams are not haunted by any ghost.
Who and what are we? Excellent question.
Haters. Builders. Traitors. Voodoos, Voodoos especially.
For we desire all evils
Those of yesterday, those of today,
Those of the iron collar, those of the liver,
Those of deprivation, those of escape,
And we are not forgetting those of the slaver.
Ho! Pity! Hyena! long circle around my rottenness,no
Justice is done us.
And on the day of execution we know the hymns to
sing in prison.
Give me the courage of the martyr
Give me the savage faith of the sorcerer
Give my hand the power to mould
Give my soul the sword’s temper
I won’t evade. Make my head a prow
And of myself, my heart,
Make neither a father nor a brother, nor a son, but the
Father, the brother, the son
not the husband , but the lover of this unique people.
Make me refractory to vanity, but docile to their
genius as the fist to the extended arm.
Make me commissar of their blood
Make me trustee of their resentments
Make me a man of termination
Make me a man of initiation
Make me a man of meditation
But also make me a man of germination
Make me the executioner
This is the time to get one’s loins like a valiant man
But so dong ,my heart preserves me from all hatred.
Do not make me that man of hate for whom I feel
nothing but hate
For cantoned in this unique race
You know however my love
You know that it is not out of hatred for other races
That I am the toiler of this unique race
What I want is for the universal hunger
For the universal thirst
I call the race to be finally free
To produce out of its closed intimacy
The succulence of fruits
And see the tree of our hands1
It turns for all wounds notched in its trunk
For all the soil works and lures toward the branches
A perfumed precipitiousness
But before landing at future orchards
Let me merit those on the tangle of sea
May I keep my heart while awaiting the earth
May I keep over this sterile ocean
Which caresses the hand ,the promise of armour,
May I keep over this various oceans
The obstinacy of the found course
And its vigour at sea.
As there are hyena-men and leopard-men, I would be
a hindu-man from Calcutta
a man from Harlem who doesn’t vote
the famine-man, the insult-man, the torture-ma
One can at any moment seize, beat up ,or kill without
having to account to anybody, without having to
excuse oneself to anyone
a pogrom-man, a little tyke ,a bum
But is remorse to be slain,
Beautiful as the stupefied face of an English lady at
discovering a Hottentot’s skull in her soup?...
Whoever would not comprehend me would comprehend
the roaring of the tiger .
What madness is my dream of a marvelous caper
above this baseness
Yes, the white men are great warriors,
Hossannah for the master and the castrater of Negroes!
Victory! Victory I tell you; the vanquished are content!
Joyous stench and songs of mud!
By means of an unexpected and beneficent internal
I honor now my loathsome ugliness.