Laâbi's New Year Poem

The following is the poem Abdellatif Laâbi sent to friends as a New Year’s greeting, saying it was the last one the old year had provided.

Du droit de t’insurger

Du droit de t’insurger tu useras
quoi qu’il advienne
Du devoir de discerner
chaque visage de l’abjection
tu t’acquitteras
à visage découvert
De la graine de lumière
dispensée à ton espèce
chue dans tes entrailles
tu te feras gardien et vestale
À ces conditions préalables
tu mériteras ton vrai nom
homme de parole
ou poète si l’on veut

Of the right to revolt

Of the right to revolt you will make use
come what may
Of the duty to make out
every face of abjection
you will acquit yourself
with an open face
Of the seed of light
dispensed to your species
dropped into your gut
you’ll make yourself guardian and vestal
Fulfilling those preconditions
you’ll merit your true name
man of his word
or poet if you will

[translated by Pierre Joris]

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