Today, we will join the poet Jacques Rabemananjara in singing the praises of the Great Island… you know the one and only, Madagascar! Published in 1956 in Présence Africaine, Antsa is an ode to the Great island, a love song to Rabemananjara’s land of birth, Madagascar. Jacques Rabemananjara, like Léon Gontran Damas, was also part of the Negritude movement in France; he was said to be the most prolific writer of the negritude generation after Léopold Sédar Senghor, and he had the first négritude poetry published. He was a Malagasy politician, playwright and poet, who served as a government minister, and later rose to the rank of Vice President of Madagascar under Philibert Tsiranana. He was one of the heroes of the Malagasy independence.
As you read Antsa, enjoy the island of syllables of flame, feel the love, the sweetness sweeter than honey, the patriotism expressed like the most ardent lover, the most faithful, feel the oneness with the homeland as no owl’s cry or burning could disturb the love the author feels for his motherland. Enjoy it, and try expressing it for the land of your birth… not the people… the land and its beauty!
|Antsa par Jacques Rabemananjara
Ile aux syllabes de flammes !
Jamais ton nom
Ne fut plus cher à mon âme !
Ne fut plus doux à mon cœur !
Ile aux syllabes de flamme,
Quelle résonnance !
fondent dans ma bouche :
Le miel des claires saisons
Dans le mystère de tes sylves,
Je mords la chair vierge et rouge
Avec l’âpre ferveur
Du mourant aux dents de lumière
Un viatique d’innocence
dans mes entrailles d’affamé,
Je m’allongerai sur ton sein avec la fouge
du plus ardent de tes amants,
du plus fidèle,
Qu’importent le hululement des chouettes
le vol rasant et bas
des hiboux apeurés sous le faîtage
de la maison incendiée !oh, les renards,
leur peau puante du sang des poussins, du sang auréolé des flamants-roses !
Nous autres, les hallucinés de l’azur,
nous scrutons éperdument tout l’infini de bleu de la nue,
|Antsa by Jacques Rabemananjara
Island with syllables of flames!
Never your name
Was so dear to my soul!
So sweet to my heart!
Island with syllables of flames,
Melt in my mouth:
The honey of clear seasons
In the mystery of your forests,
I bite the virgin and red flesh
With the bitter fervor
Of the dying with bright teeth
A viaticum of innocence
In my guts filled with hunger,
I will lie on your breast with the passion
Of the most ardent of your lovers,
Of the most faithful,
No matter how much the owls hoot,
The low flying and frightened owls under ridge
Or the burning house! Oh the foxes,
May they lick
Their pungent skin from the chicks’ blood, the haloed blood of pink flamingoes!
We, the hallucinated of the azure,
We madly scour the infinite of the blue from the clouds
Antsa, 1956, Présence Africaine
5 thoughts on “‘Antsa’ by Jacques Rabemananjara”
That’s a wonderful and patriotic poem. It is very creative and authentic. Certainly much better than all those Madagascar movies.
Ha ha ha… the Malagasy movie industry needs to grow.
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Sure thing. I’ve never seen any movie from that country. Makes me wonder if they have a film scene there. I’ve seen movies and short films from countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Congo-Brazzaville, and even Mauritius, but not Madagascar.
Now that you say it… I remember seeing something when I was little, but it was a while back
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I see. That’s something I should definitely research. Having Madagascar on the map (metaphorically speaking) for Iridium Eye Reviews would be sweet.