New Year

Aimé Césaire

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         Out of their torments men carved a flower

         which they perched on the high plateaus of their faces

         hunger makes a canopy for them

         an image dissolves in their last tear

         they drank foam rhythmed monsters

         to the point of ferocious horror

In those days

there was an

unforgettable

metamorphosis

         on their hooves the horses were rearing a bit of dream

         fat fiery clouds filled out like mushrooms

         over all the public squares

         there was a terrific pestilence

         on the sidewalks the smaller streetlamps were rotating their lighthouse heads

         as for the anophelic future it was hissing in the gardens a scorching vapor

In those days

the word shower

and the word topsoil

the word dawn

and the word shavings

conspired for the first time

Aimé Césaire, New Year from The Collected Poetry of Aimé Césaire. English Translation Copyright © 1983 by Clayton Eshleman. Reprinted by permission of the translator. 

Source: The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century Poetry (Yale University Press, 2008)