Submitted by Rachel Atkinson on Wednesday, 10/12/2011, at 10:43 AM

There is a constant suggested (or sometimes blatantly stated) connection between the Caribbean landscape and the colonized peoples inhabiting it. The European dualism of ‘white=rational; black=emotional’ complements the overwhelmed nature of the senses when in contact with the Caribbean beaches, fauna, and other ‘exotic’ motifs. Both Suzanne and Aime Cesaire discussed their opinions on how the black colonized person should view him or herself in the context of their native land. Suzanne takes a more docile approach in her praise of the easy-going and resilient characteristics shared between the people and nature. Her husband is more militant in his comparisons of the built-up rage and rebellion of the colonized people to the dormant volcanoes and idea-carrying winds of the tropics. The mornes (volcanoes) that speckle the shoreline of his island, once erupted, can cause mass destruction and chaos; in just a few short generations, however, the previously decimated lands replenish more fertile and verdant than ever. This is the nature of Cesaire’s ideal cultural revolution. Similarly, just as the trade winds brought the physical bodies of his people to the islands, the unique ideas and not-yet developed culture of the Martiniquan race should have an origin in West Africa.

S. Cesaire: A Civilazation’s Discontent:

“These are the Tropics…It can hardly be denied that on Martiniquan soil the coloured race produces strong, resistant, supple men and women of natural elegance and great beauty.”

“What is the Martiniquan? He is the plant-man. Like the plant, he abandons himself to the rhythm of universal life. He makes no effort to dominate nature…I’m saying that he grows, that he lives like a plant. His indolence has a vegetal form. If you were to say not ‘he’s lazy’, but, ‘he vegetates’, you would be doubly right…Stubborn as only the plant knows how to be. Independent (an independence that is the autonomy of the plant).”

“And always and everywhere, in everything he does, the primacy of the plant, the trampled but tenacious plant lives, dead and yet reborn, the free plant, silent and proud.”

A. Cesaire: Notebook of a Return to the Native Land:

“…and there, rocked by the flux of a never exhausted thought I nourished the wind.”

“…the volcanoes 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 awakenings.”

“…life prostrate, you don’t know how to dispose of your aborted dreams, the river of life desperately torpid in its bed, neither turgid nor low, hesitant to flow, pitifully empty, the impartial heaviness of boredom distributing shade equally on all things, the air stagnant, unbroken by the brightness of a single bird.”

“Suddenly now strength and life assail me like a bull and the water of life overwhelms the papilla of the morne, now all the veins and veinlets are bustling with new blood and the enormous breathing lung of cyclones and the fire hoarded in volcanoes and the gigantic seismic pulse which now beats the measure of a living body in my firm conflagration.”

Tags:  nature  wind  caribbean  plant  volcano  morne