“The True Camarade”a poem by E. Armand


1845-1945, E. Armand, Historical Work, Poetry / Monday, October 21st, 2019
In this poem by E. Armand, we see the very explicit language of Stirner/Egoism being used. It appeared as “Le vrai camarade” in Armand’s journal L’en dehors 7 no. 137 (début Juillet 1928): 5.

 

The True Camarade 1)“Camarade” is not translated as “comrade” here purposefully, as the term itself may have a unique and nuanced meaning to Armand and his milieu that may be lost if translated to the common English equivalent

Worthy, you are far too dignified to bear the thought that someone might have given more than you have received—

or that the one who gives to you might suspect that they have received less than their contribution—

I know well that you will say, “Fair is fair…”—

and that you consider yourself “an egoist among the egoists”—

But egoist, you are much too egoist—

to admit that, being able to give pleasure to someone in your world —

you would refuse yourself the delight of doing so—

I am well aware that you speak constantly of “reciprocity”—

but you never believe you have paid enough for a smile, reimbursed a kind word, acquitted a sign of sympathy—

you are much to individual to accept that, in their relations with you, that one of your own should have reason to fear that they have not been paid in return—

You insist, to all who will listen, that you are only bound by the terms of the contract that you have concluded with one of your own—

but I have seen you, a thousand times, torment yourself, wrack your brain, asking yourself—

if you have exactly fulfilled your obligations —

“exactly”—

that is, exactly as intended by the one who had contracted with you—

at the moment when you signed it—

You are much too “unique,” too proud—

to not exhaust, to the utmost extreme—

the capacity to give, to make and to satisfy—

in order not to leave, hands empty and their desire unfulfilled, the one of your own who reached out to you—

imagining you rich in possibilities…

E. Armand.

References   [ + ]

1. “Camarade” is not translated as “comrade” here purposefully, as the term itself may have a unique and nuanced meaning to Armand and his milieu that may be lost if translated to the common English equivalent