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Used with permission by Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved. National Poetry Month. Materials for Teachers Teach This Poem. Poems for Kids. Poetry for Teens.
Lesson Plans. Resources for Teachers. Academy of American Poets. American Poets Magazine. Poems Find and share the perfect poems. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]. At the end of daybreak. Beat it, I said to him, you cop, you lousy pig, beat it, I detest the flunkies of order and the cockchafers of hope. Beat it, evil grigri, you bedbug of a petty monk.
Then I turned toward paradises lost for him and his kin, calmer than the face of a woman telling lies, and there, rocked by the flux of a never exhausted thought I nourished the wind, I unlaced the monsters and heard rise, from the other side of disaster, a river of turtledoves and savanna clover which I carry forever in my depths height-deep as the twentieth floor of the most arrogant houses and as a guard against the putrefying force of crepuscular surroundings, surveyed night and day by a cursed venereal sun.
At the end of daybreak burgeoning with frail coves, the hungry Antilles, the Antilles pitted with smallpox, the Antilles dyn- amited by alcohol, stranded in the mud of this bay, in the dust of this town sinisterly stranded. At the end of daybreak, on this very fragile earth thickness exceeded in a humiliating way by its grandiose future—the vol- canoes will explode, the naked water will bear away the ripe sun stains and nothing will be left but a tepid bubbling pecked at by sea birds—the beach of dreams and the insane awakening.
At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of this earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna and flora.
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Return to My Native Land
Aime Cesaire's epic poem "Notebook of a Return to the Native Land" can be difficult to decipher due to Cesaire's unusual usage of metaphor, language, and poetic rhythm. Negritude came to become a central tenet of the civil rights movement in the United States, as well as the "Black is Beautiful" cultural movement in both North and South America. Cesaire was not only the creator of the negritude movement, but a prominent politician and public figure, a member of the surrealist movement, and one of the most revered French-Caribbean writers of all time. Aime Cesaire grew up in Martinique, one of the French Caribbean islands, before leaving for Paris to continue his studies.
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]
The translators convey the spirit of improvisation, yet, with a deftness of image and music, they deliver this book-length poem as a seamless work of art—an existential cry against a man-made void. Want a discount? Become a member by purchasing Memberships! An unforgettable work of imagination, realism and surrealism, the Cahier is one of the most powerful, inspiring and beautiful poems ever written Aime Cesaire's long poem is evocative and thoughtful, touching on human aspiration far beyond the scale of its specific concerns with Cesaire's native land - Martinique. Through his universal call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed peoples.