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The Song of Resistance

Kama Sywor Kamanda

Reading from Southbank Centre's Poetry Parnassus festival, 2012. 

Translated from the French by Patrick Williamson:
The Song of Resistance
Fanatics advance towards
Life’s great fascinations
Under the protective wing of nothingness.
This is also the moment of immense disillusion
When the solitude of being is felt
Like memory voided of its messages
And emptied of images that fuel the fleeting.
Beyond the tumult of war,
A call comes through the flames,
Breaking the bonds that bind men to their manes.
This is the hour in which destinies
Become on with shooting stars
And exhaust all life forces,
Mistaking heroes for martyrs
In the blood and ash.
Bearers of lava and harvests,
We will go forward to the swamps and forests, the seas
And volcanoes, to bring offerings and songs.
We will follow the mutterings of darkness
And the groans of shades
Until the earthly root couples
With heavenly bodies
In the echo of distant mysteries.
We will go forward further than the Gods,
Beyond grotesque visions, to reanimate the spirits
Of all our uprooted dead.
We will go forward, implacable and devoted,
Brandishing lightning like a flare
In the night of our acute suffering
To bring controversy and refutation.
We will go forward, driven by the winds of history,
To free consciences
Subjugated for too long.
The roots of the upside-down tree
Will end up absorbing the rains
At the same time as our hopes
Mingled with the alchemy of our passions.


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