Roussan Camille was a beloved Haitian poet, born in the city of Jacmel on August 27, 1912.
He attended the Lycée Pinchinnat of Jacmel, run by the Christian Brother's School.
After graduating high school from the Tippenhauer College in Port-au-Prince, under his former professor's mentorships, Charles Moravia, a poet and former Haiti's ambassador to the United States during the US occupation of Haiti, Roussan Camille began a career as a journalist, working for his former teacher at Haiti-Journal's, of which Moravia had been the chief editor; Roussan began publishing articles, Poema and the Column "Bel Aujourd'hui" under his pen-name Nassour El Limac.
After the unexpected death of Moravia in 1938, Roussan Camilled became the director of the old news paper.
While director of the news paper, Roussan was appointed to several diplomatic roles, such as Haiti's Vice Consul to New York, secretary of the Haitian legation to Paris, and las but not least, secretary general in the ministry of health, after his diplomatic mission in New York.
The much admired poet Roussan Camille died in his home on December 7th, 1961 from long health complications.
The heartfelt urology that his great friend and fellow writer Pierre Mayard penned for Roussan at his state funeral, show us how beloved the poet was to all who have known him personally, or through his writings.
It was a pleasure finding the original eulogy, written in french at Haiti's National library.
We have the wonderful translation below.
"So it's true this time Roussan, old Roussan. She got you.
You had us for so long accustomed to this dangerous flirtation between her and you, that we no longer believed in a fatal outcome. For so long you had stood up to her, so has resisted her assaults, her treacherous attacks, we had come to believe that she would weary. But the prey was too good. She could not let go of you. There was only you to understand it. Too long you let her used on you her shriveled nails. Your life or rather what she had left you, was a challenge to her power. You'd never believed Roussan.
Death is like women: it does not forgive those who resist it, who ignore or pretend to play it.
We all friends we trembled for thee; when, out of an explanation with her, you took this contemptuous grimace, disdainful, which after the assault, was as sad victory flag hoisted on the semaphore of your long carcass.
We all thought: "It is not for this one." You smiled our fears, Roussan. You were wrong. Why did not you understand that this old mistress would not have let go of you, as you would not have signed a formal contract with life? But who could, who would be able to brag about holding you in contract, Nonconformist irreducible bohemian?
Head in the clouds, you hand in hand was treating a equal with the gods.
Your cup full of ambrosia, you're toasting with Apollo. You sucked the honey on the round and the Bear breasts generous goddesses, under the very eyes of Zeus, who gave rhythm to your poetry and your meter, pinning a gold lightning.
From below, we followed you barely; and our human imagination haloed you happy in the crown of vine and gold. The friendship of the gods and goddesses layer is therefore not enough to you? Or did you know that the other, that old bitch had you under your skin, bored you?
She liked you to take her home, in the harmony of your coat, all the thrills, all impulses, all the beauty, all the lights of a world that seemed made to your measure.
You should not have come down, Roussan.
Your presence was more than a challenge for the other waiting you, who watched your return, and who, could not dominate your mind, your heart imprisoned behind the bars of her rib cage, enslave your soul, was dogging your body that treacherously, but surely she chiseled to your model.
You should not have come down, Roussan. From up there, like the rain, good transparent rain, fertilizer; godsend to the bowels of the earth, you would have continued to spread over us the crystal pearls, sound chip of your poetry.
It should not be down because of above your voice resurected in us the lightning epic, extraordinary legends of our old gods of Africa. Which now descend into the bunker or the old negro slave away with reddened eyes of the boiler fires (...)
It's not you I'm sorry, since in the latter flight, your wings with golden feathers will never be close again in the vast sky of poetry which now here you are the high priest and the Genie.
No, it's not you that I'm complaining, Roussan, but the rest of us who your friends to your shadow, long day without bread had become indispensable. You who dominated the crowd of your great miraculously vertical frame, I can not imagine you in the shitty extended decay of a cemetery, and already to ...
Many roses wither on your coffin. Life goes on to its daily round, without you, but so sure, far and near, by thinking of you, each of us will often pilgrimage on your grave, Roussan, my friend. "