DEMAIN (by Aimé Césaire)

Je suppose que le monde soit une forêt. Bon!
Il y a des baobabs, du chêne vif, des sapins noirs, du noyer blanc;
Je veux qu’ils poussent tous, bien fermes et drus, différents
de bois, de ports, de couleur,
mais pareillement pleins de sève et sans que l’un empiète
sur l’autre,
différents à leur base
mais oh!
que leurs têtes se rejoignent oui très haut dans l’éther
égal à ne former pour tous
qu’un seul toit
je dis l’unique toit tutélaire…

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from “Et les chiens se taisaient”, 1997

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TOMORROW

I take the world to be a forest. Right!
There are baobabs, lively oak, black fir, the hickory tree;
I want them all to grow, strong and dense, each different
by wood, aspect, colour,
but equally filled with sap and with none encroaching
on another,
different at their base
but oh!
may their heads meet yes high up in the ether
equivalent to forming for all
just one roof
I say the only protective roof…
© Aimé Césaire
translated from the French by Rethabile Masilo

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As usual in such cases, I beg Mr Césaire’s pardon for attempting to translate his words. May he rest in peace. I encountered several difficulties in translating “Demain” from the original French into English, but the main one is perhaps the poet’s use of the word toit, which means “roof”. In French, toit (roof) sounds exactly like toi (you). They’re pronounced /twa/. And so…
———-

égal à ne former pour tous
qu’un seul toit
je dis l’unique toit tutélaire…

———-

is at once
———-

equivalent to forming for all
just one roof
I say the only protective roof

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and
———-

equivalent to forming for all
just one you
I say the only protective you

———-

I have not been able to find a way around this, and therefore opted for the literal roof meaning at the expense of the you meaning embodied by sound alone. Any ideas around this?