Auguste’s Single Strike

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My lovely two-year-old Auguste,
I write this down for you:
Today, for the first time,
you struck your mother on the cheek.
It was the power of your life
that wanted to win —
the genuine power for conquest
took on the form of anger
and a spastic fit
and flashed like lightning.
You must have been conscious of nothing,
must have forgotten it at once.
But your mother was shocked,
was also deeply happy.
You can, some day, as a man,
be on your own defiantly,
you can be on your own purely, resolutely,
also can love man and nature decisively
(The core of conquest is love),
also you can conquer suspicion, pain, death,
jealousy, cowardice, derision,
oppression, crooked learning, conventions,
filthy wealth, and social ranks.
Yes, that genuine strike,
that’s the totality of your life.
Such were the premonitions I felt that made me happy
under the pain of the sharp blow
you struck with your palm
as a lion cub might.
At the same time I felt the same power
lurking in myself
and even the cheek you didn’t strike
became hot like the cheek you did.
You must have been conscious of nothing.
must have forgotten it at once.
But when you’ve become an adult,
take this out and read it,
when you think, when you work,
when you love someone, when you fight.
My lovely two-year-old Auguste,
I write this down for you:
Today, for the first time,
you struck your mother on the cheek.
My still more lovely Auguste,
You, in my womb,
walked through Europe, sightseeing.
As you grow up,
your wisdom will remember
the memories of those travels with your mother.
What Michelangelo and Rodin did,
what Napoleon and Pasteur did,
yes, it was that genuine strike,
that ferocious, blissful strike.

Translation by Hiroaki Sato

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