Hostages, Translation Of Pierre Emmanuel's Otages By T. Wignesan

This blood will never dry up on our land
and those felled will lie there exposed.
We'll keep grinding our teeth for fear of blurting out
we'll not cry over these crosses upturned.

But we'll remember these laid low devoid of memory
we'll keep count of our dead as hours were numbered.
They who weigh heavy as a scourge upon history
tomorrow one'll spurn them low will they be surprised.

And those who kept quiet for fear of being caught
their silence too will not be pardoned.
Those who stood up to argue and to pretend
even the less pious will have them condemned.

These deaths these wanton deaths are all our heritage
their poor bleeding bodies will not be separated.
We will not let our recall of their faces lie fallow
orchards will bloom on meadows lush green covered.

May they lie exposed naked under the sky like our land
and may their blood be mixed with our origins cherishcd.
The wild rose bush will cover them with the roses of ire
with their blood fierce spring seasons will be enlivened.

May these spring seasons be so cool beyond all words
songs of birds and children trundling paths be they filled.
And like a forest surrounding them heaves a sigh
a great people pray in subdued tones with arms raised.

Rhyme scheme of the original quatrains: abab, cbcb, dbdb, ebeb, abab, fgfg

(La liberté guide nos pas, O.C., t. I, p.420)

*First published in the review Traits, in January 1942, and again in L'Honneur des poètes, in 1943. According to Anne-Sophie CONSTANT, the editor of Anthologie Poétique, « Hostages » evokes the execution of hostages in the Chateaubriant Camp on October 22,1941.

© T. Wignesan - Paris, October 18,2014

by T. (no first name) Wignesan

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