Alicia Maveroff: “A Visitor” and “Via Titanio: Ciao”

Mariposa de madera_Wards Island_Toronto_Agosto de 2015

A Visitor
.
There are times when Fantasy comes to mind,
she climbs up into and all throughout my head – and won’t let go;
I can’t think like I used to…
.
So this is when she arrives – for me –
and there and then – full of letters, words –
in an instant, are: my thoughts.
.
She dovetails with me, meanwhile,
and quickly I get it all down…
.
Today
Imagination came to me,
I’m noting this,
I write, and as soon as I say it,
that which before was unknown
is now hurried forth: my friend has inspired me,
and, even though it’s weird, I know I have to just go with it!
Because she’s told me so many things I never knew…
.
And there’s more arrives: she’s with me for a while,
looks at me, salutes me, talks to me and, later,
all of a sudden, quick as can be,
she takes off – fast – towards the next day.
. . .
Visita
.
A veces, llega a mí la fantasía,
se trepa en mi cabeza y no me deja,
pensar como solía…
Entonces es cuando llega hasta mi ella,
y llena de letras y palabras,
en un instante mi pensamiento.
Ellas se conbinan mientras,
yo rápido lo escribo…
Hoy llega hasta mi la fantasía,
anoto, escribo y pronto lo que dice,
lo que antes no sabía,
me apuro, es mi amiga que me inspira,
y aunque es raro, yo se que debo hacerlo.
Porque ella a mí me cuenta
muchas cosas que yo desconocía…
Más llega, está conmigo un rato,
me mira, me saluda, me habla y luego,
de repente, rauda, en un momento,
me abandona y se va, veloz, hasta otro día…
.
05/02/2012
. . .
Via Titanio, Monte Sacro, Roma…
Titan Street, Holy Mount, Rome…
From an old building,
on a third-floor wall,
beneath a window
of this house situated at number 2A,
somebody some time ago wrote:
Ciao
somebody who’s no longer here because I imagine he’s left.
.
Neither sun nor rain’s been able to
erase the odd farewell that
one still can see on this yellowed wall.
Where did he go?
To whom did he bid adieu?
Who wrote it that day, who never thought I’d be
reading his letters, finding them, noticing them?
Neither did I imagine I’d descend one by one
these well-worn steps on a stairway in the Via Titanio,
and so come across his message.
Why did he make his goodbye in this manner?
Did he know he wouldn’t be the only one to leave?
Did he think about all of us who one day must say
Adiós?

. . .

Vía Titanio, Monte Sacro, Roma
Desde un viejo edificio,
en la pared del tercer piso,
bajo una ventana
de esa casa ubicada en el numero 2a,
Alguien hace tiempo escribió
Ciao“..
Alguien, que ya no está, porque presumo que ha partido
Ni el sol ni la lluvia han podido
borrar la extraña despedida, que
aún se lee en la pared amarilla.
¿Cuándo se fue?
¿De quién se despedía?
¿Quién lo escribió ese día, jamás pensó en que yo lo leería,
que encontraría sus letras y en ellas repararía?
Tampoco imagino que yo descendería uno a uno los gastados escalones
de la escalinata de la Vía Titanio y encontraría su mensaje.
¿Por qué se despidió de esa manera?
¿Sabía que no será el único en partir?
¿Pensó que todos algún día tendremos que decir adiós?
.
05/04/2014
. . . . .


Ghalib, Iqbal, Hafiz: new translations from Persian by A.Z. Foreman

Wards Island sunflower and bee_August 21st 2015

A.Z. Foreman continues his exploration of world literature with these new (June 2015) translations from Persian…

The poet Mīrzā Asadullāh Khān Ghālib was born in Agra in 1796, and spent his life in Delhi, attached to Bahādur Shāh II, the last of the Mughal emperors. He is today more famous for his Urdu poetry, though he himself was much prouder of his Persian compositions. Much ink has been spilled regarding the relative merit of his Urdu and his Persian work. I am not qualified to pass judgement on the matter, and can only say that those Urdu poems of his which I have managed to make my way through seem considerably different in temperament from his Persian work.
This particular poem has languished, beloved and half-understood, in my queue for years. Today I finally, and quite suddenly, feel I have a handle on it enough to translate it with at least some semblance of artistic fidelity.
. . .

Mirza Ghalib (1796-1869)
I Daresay I Dare Not Say
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

.

I dare not say my heart is hers though she stole it from me.
I cannot call her tyrant though I see her cruelty.
Hers is the battleground where men bear neither blade nor bow
Hers is the banquet-hall with neither wine nor revelry.
Your courage will not help you here, the lightning flame bolts fast.
Die as the moth. No living salamander can you be.
We journey in love’s heat and seek not water nor the shade
So do not speak of Kausar’s running stream nor Tuba’s tree.
Life’s tribulation ends, so why complain of tyranny?
You suffer, and it is God’s will. Let pain that will be, be.
The word held secret in my breast cannot be preached. I’ll speak it
Not from the pulpit but from high upon the gallows-tree.
O strange it feels to deal with one so singularly mad.
For Ghalib’s love is not Islam, nor infidelity.
. . .

The Original:

دل برد و حق آنست كه دلبر نتوان گفت  بيداد توان ديد و ستمگر نتوان گفت
در رزمگهش ناچخ و خنجر نتوان برد  در بزمگهش باده و ساغر نتوان گفت
از حوصله يارى مطلب صاعقه تيز است  پروانه شو اين جا ز سمندر نتوان گفت
هنگامه سرآمد، چه زنى لاف تظلم؟  گر خود ستمى رفت، بمحشر نتوان گفت
در گرم روى سايه و سرچشمه نجوييم  با ما سخن از طوبى و كوثر نتوان گفت
آن راز كه در سينه نهانست و نه وعظست  بر دار توان گفت و بمنبر نتوان گفت.
كارى عجب افتاد بدين شيفته مارا
مؤمن نبود غالب و كافر نتوان گفت.
. . .
Romanization:

Dil burd o haq ānast ki dilbar natawān guft
Bēdād tawān dīd o sitamgar natawān guft
Dar razmgahaš nāčax o xanjar natawān burd
Dar bazmgahaš bāda o sāɣar natawān guft
Az hawsala yārī matalab sā’iqa tēzast
Parwāna šaw īnjā zi samandar natawān guft
Hangāma sarāmad či zanī lāf-i tazallum
Gar xwad sitamī raft ba mahšar natawān guft
Dar garm-i rūy-i sāyah o sarčašma najōyēm
Bā mā suxan az tūbā o kawsar natawān guft
Ān rāz ki dar sīna nahānast o na wa’zast
Bar dār tawān guft o ba minbar natawān guft
Kārē ajab uftād badīn šēfta mārā
Mu’min nabuwad ɣālib o kāfar natawān guft.

. . .

This singular poem by Muhammad Iqbal, the last of the Indo-Persian poets, written presumably in the early 1920s, is from the Payām-i Mašriq, a collection of Persian poems in which the poet addressed himself to the West, in response to Goethe’s West-Östlicher Divan. Though Iqbal loathed Hāfiz (as Plato loathed all poets) for being too distractingly beautiful, much of the final half of this poem is a skillful and interesting muˁāraḍa or contrafactum riffing off (and responding to) one of Hāfiz’ most famous ghazals.
. . .

Muhammad Iqbāl (1877-1938)
Song of the Hireling Worker
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
.
The worker, clad in cotton, toils to make
the silken robe the idle rich man wears.
Gems in my master’s ring are my brow’s sweat.
The rubies of his reins are my child’s tears.
The Church is fat from leeching on my blood.
My arm is the muscle of a kingdom’s heirs.
My tears bid deserts bloom as dawn wind blows
and my heart’s blood is glistening in the rose.
.
Come, for the harp of time is tense with song!
Pour a wine strong enough to melt the glass.
Let’s give new order to the tavern-masters
and burn the olden tavern down at last.
Avenge the flower on all who razed the garden,
and seek for rose and bud a better cast.
How long shall we be moths that fall for flame?
How long shall we forget ourselves in shame?

. . .
The Original:

نوای مزدور
محمد اقبال

ز مزد بندۂ کرپاس پوش محنت کش  نصیب خواجۂ ناکردہ کار رخت حریر
ز خوی فشانی من لعل خاتم والی  ز اشک کودک من گوہر ستام امیر
ز خون من چو زلو فربہی کلیسا را  بزور بازوی من دست سلطنت ہمہ گیر
خرابہ رشک گلستان ز گریۂ سحرم
شباب لالہ و گل از طراوت جگرم
بیا کہ تازہ نوا می تراود از رگ ساز  مئی کہ شیشہ گدازد بہ ساغر اندازیم
مغان و دیر مغان را نظام تازہ دہیم  بنای میکدہ ہای کہن بر اندازیم
ز رہزنان چمن انتقام لالہ کشیم  بہ بزم غنچہ و گل طرح دیگر اندازیم
بہ طوف شمع چو پروانہ زیستن تا کی؟
ز خویش اینہمہ بیگانہ زیستن تا کی؟

. . .

Romanization:

Zi muzd-i banda-i kirpāspōš-i mihnatkaš
Nasīb-i xwāja-i nākardakār raxt-i harīr
Zi xōy-i fašānī-i man la’l-i xātim-i wālī
Zi ašk-i kōdak-i man gawhar-i sitām-i amīr
Zi xūn-i man ču zalū farbihī Kalīsārā
Bizōr-i bāzō-i man dast-i saltanat hamagīr
Xarāba rašk-i gulistān zi girya-i saharam
Šabāb-i lāla o gul az tarāwat-i jigaram
Biyā ki tāza nawā mētarāwad az rag-i sāz
Maī ki šīša gudāzad ba sāɣar andāzēm
Muɣān o dēr-i muɣānrā nizām-i tāza dahēm
Banāy-i maykadahā-i kuhan bar andāzēm
Zi rahzanān-i čaman intiqām-i lāla kašēm
Ba bazm-i ɣunča o gul tarh-i dīgar andāzēm
Ba tawf-i šam’ ču parwāna zīstan tā kay?
Zi xwēš īnhama bēgāna zīstan tā kay?

. . .

Hāfiz (1325-1389, Shiraz, Persia [now Iran])
Ghazal 220: “Aspirations”

Translated by A.Z. Foreman
.
Although our preacher will not like
to hear such honesty,
He’ll never be a Muslim while
he’s such a pharisee.
Learn to get drunk, be a gentleman
not some dumb animal
That cannot drink a drop of wine
or be a man at all.
The essence must be unalloyed
to make His grace our own,
Or from our clay no pearls will come
nor coral come from stone.
The Almighty shall fulfill His will.
rejoice, my heart! No con
Or devilry can turn a demon
into a Solomon.
Mine is the noble art of love.
I hope against belief
It won’t bring me, as others have,
despondency and grief.
Last night he said “Tomorrow I
will grant your heart’s desire”
God let him have no change of heart
nor let him be a liar.
May God add a good heart to all
your physical attraction
So you’ll no longer torment me
with harrowing distraction.
Hafiz! Unless a mote of dust
aspires to lofty height,
It is not drawn to the true fount
from which the sun draws light.
. . .

Prose paraphrase:

(1) Though the city preacher won’t find it easy to hear these words, as long as he practices sophistry and hypocrisy, he’ll never be a real Muslim. (2) Train yourself in dissolute drunkenness, and be a gentleman to others. For not so artful is the beast that does not drink wine, or become human. (3) There must be a pure-gemmed essence in order to be a vessel for holy grace, for without it stone and clay will not become pearl and coral. (4) He of the Greatest Name does his work – be glad O heart, for by no trick or fraud can a devil ever become Solomon. (5) I practice love, and hope that this noble art will not, as other arts have done, cause me chagrin. (6)  Last night he was saying “Tomorrow I will give you your heart’s desire.” Oh God, contrive to keep him from having compunction about doing so! (7) For my own sake I pray God include in your beauty a good disposition, so that my mind is no longer distraught and discombobulated. (8) So long as the dustmote lacks lofty aspiration and drive, Hafiz, it is not in quest for the source that is the resplendent sun’s own dayspring.

. . .
The Original:

گر چه بر واعظ شهر این سخن آسان نشود تا ریا ورزد و سالوس مسلمان نشود
رندی آموز و کرم کن که نه چندان هنر است حیوانی که ننوشد می و انسان نشود
گوهر پاک بباید که شود قابل فیض ور نه هر سنگ و گلی لوءلوء و مرجان نشود
اسم اعظم بکند کار خود ای دل خوش باش که به تلبیس و حیل دیو سليمان نشود
عشق می‌ورزم و امید که این فن شریف چون هنرهای دگر موجب حرمان نشود
دوش می‌گفت که فردا بدهم کام دلت سببی ساز خدایا که پشیمان نشود
حسن خلقی ز خدا می‌طلبم حسن ترا تا دگر خاطر ما از تو پریشان نشود
ذره را تا نبود همت عالی حافظ

طالب چشمه خورشید درخشان نشود

.     .     .

Romanization:

Gar či bar wā’iz-i šahr īn suxan āsān našawad
Tā riyā warzad o sālūs musalmān našawad
Rindī āmōz o karam kun ki na čandān hunarast
Hayawānē ki nanōšad may o insān našawad
Gawhar-i pāk bibāyad, ki šawad qābil-i fayz,
War na har sang o gilē lu’lu’ o marjān našawad.
Ism-i a’zam bukunad kār-i xwad ay dil, xwaš bāš
Ki ba talbīs o hayal dēw Sulaymān našawad
Išq mēwarzam o ummēd ki īn fan-i šarīf
Čūn hunarhā-i digar mawjib-i hirmān našawad
Dōš mēguft ki fardā bidiham kām-i dilat
Sababē sāz Xudāyā ki pišīmān našawad
Husn-i xulqē zi Xudā mētalabam husn-i turā
Tā digar xātar-i mā az to parēšān našawad
Zurrarā tā nabuwad himmat-i ‘ālī hāfiz
Tālib-i čašma-i xwaršēd-i duruxšān našawad.
. . .
Visit A.Z. Foreman’s poetry translation site:
http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.ca/

. . . . .


Kofi Awoonor: “Poema encontrado” / “Found Poem”

Barack Obama at the Cape Coast Castle in Accra, Ghana, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza. Barack Obama durante su visita a la Fortaleza de la Costa del Cabo en Accra, Ghana, 2009. Foto de Peter Souza.

Barack Obama at the Cape Coast Castle in Accra, Ghana, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza. Barack Obama durante su visita a la Fortaleza de la Costa del Cabo en Accra, Ghana, 2009. Foto de Peter Souza.

Kofi Awoonor (Poeta de Ghana, 1935-2013)
Poema encontrado (1976)
.
En el este el día llega…
No digas que hemos empezado demasiado tempranito,
porque cruzaremos muchas cuestas
antes de envejecer.
Aquí la tierra es de una belleza sin par.
(Mao Tse Tung, 1934)
.
Miro hacia afuera de las barras de la Fortaleza,
la capa-corteza, la hilera embarrada de la edad;
en el rincón hay mi araña amigable
y se agacha por los jejenes incautos de mis días.
.
Hay tanto que debemos expiar.
Agujas de certeza
en las pinzas invisibles de arañas,
en el vuelo y curva de gaviotas.
Ellos conocen – yo juro –
los contornos de las Saharas onduladas,
y los océanos indigentes de nuestra historia.
Nos sentamos, y debatimos la caridad de nuestros captores.
.
Las luces están prendiendos,
la ribera se dobla en una bahía amplia
cerca de la Fortaleza; el mar es gris.
Ayer llovía en la víspera de mi año cuarenta y uno
– y esto dejó intactas todas mis derrotas.
.
Permíteme guiarte al campo.
Solo es como un semi-miembro del clan
de la cabra ritual
que puedo jalar al sitio del sacrificio mi canto.
Aquí en las canchas de dolor,
con el alquitrán y el humo de un gran fogón,
dirijo.
Mi riata es corta
pero pronto llegaré bajo del árbol.
.
Yo montaré ciento luchas para honrar a nuestros dioses
– y a nuestro líder amado.
En este lugar, no podrían resultarme más indiferentes

la masa esforzanda de la gente.
Aquí, en este lugar, me retiré antes de la Cuaresma,
hasta mi proprio trecho del frente de mar
– no puedo ver el maldito mar a causa de las paredes embarradas
construidas por los holandeses –
pero el litoral se cae en un golfo profundo;
no hay precipios.
.
Hallaron un bebé
– muerto de una semana –
enterrado en una tumba superficial
en el césped de la Fortaleza.
Pero yo quiero que mi tumba sea más honda.
.
Están serrando a través de nuestra leña.
Hoy es es día de la yuca;
el flautista queda silencioso;
quizás su tropa ha llegado en Georgia.
.
A no llegar me descompone,
pero, por el camino que yo he pisado,
no tengo ningunos arrepentimientos.
. . .
Del poemario La Promesa de Esperanza (The Promise of Hope): New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013,
© University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
. . .
Traducción del inglés al español: Alexander Best
. . .
Kofi Awoonor (Ghanaian poet, 1935-2013)
Found Poem (1976)
.
In the east, the day breaks; do not
say we have started too early;
For we shall cross many hills yet
Before we grow old; here
the land is surpassing in beauty.
(Mao Tse Tung, 1934)
.
I look out the bars upon the Castle
the crust, caked row of age;
in a corner my friendly spider
crouches for the unwary gnats
of my days.
.
So much there is we must atone.
There are spires of faith
in the invisible claws of spiders,
in the flight and curve of gulls.
These know, I swear,
the contours of the rolling Saharas
and the destitute oceans of our history.
We sit, debating the charity of our captors.

At night lights come on,
the shoreline bends into a broad bay
near the Castle;
the sea is grey.
Yesterday it rained on the eve
of my forty-first year
and left all my defeats intact.
.
Let me lead you into the country.
It is only as half clansman
of the ritual goat
that I bring my song to the place of sacrifice;
here in the pain fields,
asphalt and smoke of a large hearth,
I lead.
My rope is short.
I shall soon arrive under the tree.
.
I will stage a hundred fights in honour of our Gods
and our beloved leader.
Here, I could care less for the toiling masses.
I retreated here before Lent,
to my own stretch of sea front.
(I cannot see the damned sea
because of old caked walls
built by Dutchmen).
But the shore falls into a deep gulf;
there are no cliffs.
.
They found a week-old baby
buried in a shallow grave
on the front lawn of the fort.
I want my grave to be deeper.
.
They are sawing through our firewood.
Today is cassava day.
The flutist is silent;
perhaps his troops have arrived in Georgia.
.
Not to arrive upsets me,
And for the path that I have trod
I have no regrets.
. . . . .


Kofi Awoonor: poemas traducidos por Raúl Jaime Gaviria

Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya_Ilu Keke_City of Bicycle_2010
Kofi Awoonor nació en Wheta, Gold Coast (ahora Ghana) en 1935. Su abuela lo involucró en la tradición oral de los Ewe. Algunas de sus libros de poemas son: Rediscovery and Other Poems, 1964; Messages: poems from Ghana, 1970; y Night of my Blood, 1971; Until the Morning After: Collected Poems, 1987; y la novela experimental, que él define como poema en prosa, This Earth, My Brother, 1971. Su libro The House by the Sea, 1978, habla acerca de su tiempo en la cárcel, a la que llegó por persecución política. Otros libros suyos libros publicados son: South of Sahara, 1975; The Ghana Revolution : A Background Account from a Personal Perspective, 1984; Comes the Voyager at Last, 1992; Latin American & Caribbean Notebook, y Africa: The Marginalized Continent, 1992.
La obra de Awoonor combina las tradiciones poéticas de su nativo pueblo Ewe y el simbolismo contemporáneo y religioso para representar África durante la descolonización. Él fue una de las víctimas que murieron en septiembre de 2013 durante un ataque terrorista en el centro comercial de Westgate en Nairobi, Kenia, por el grupo militante Al-Shabaab.
. . .
LOS PECES EN BÚSQUEDA
.
Algunas veces leemos líneas en la hoja verde
deslizamos nuestros dedos a través de la suavidad
de la preciosa madera de nuestros árboles vetustos;
Algunas veces incluso
una puesta de sol nos confunde,
mientras buscamos las líneas que propulsan las nubes
el esquema cromático
consta de múltiples diseños
que el primer artista compuso
Hay danzas en las calles de nuevo
la risa de los niños resuena
por toda la casa.
En la orilla del mar,
vestigios recientes de las últimas tormentas
hablan de una riqueza ancestral saqueada
arrancada, empeñada
por un padre irreflexivo
que vivía la vida de un Lord
y guiaba a las generaciones por venir
hacia la desesperación

y la ruina
¿Pero quién dice que nuestro tiempo ha concluido,
que el fabricante de cajas y el sepulturero
están de acuerdo,
o que los predicadores han oreado sus túnicas
y el coro y los tamborileros
están en ensayo?
No, donde el gusano come
un grano crece.
Las deidades conocidas
han medido el tiempo
con argumentos de eternidad
extendidos a través del viento
Y la muerte, aunque vendrá a la puerta
con su propia e inimitable tarjeta de entrada
habrá de encontrar una granja resucitada
con la risa y la danza
y el carnaval y la carne
del borrego y la hogaza
del nuevo maíz
Somos los celebrantes
cuyo campo en carnaval
fue una vez invadido por pícaros
y otros malos hombres
que interrumpen nuestra danza
con canciones y gestos obscenos
alguien dijo que un pez enfermo
nadó en nuestro lago
buscando un lugar en donde dejar su fardo
en consonancia con el Plan Original
Maestro, si puedes ser el remero
de nuestro bote
hazlo por favor.
Te pregunté antes
¿érase una vez una orilla
en casa, donde el malecón se ha estrechado
hasta el vértice de la infancia? Le damos la bienvenida a los viajeros
que vienen a casa en nuestro bote
frescos desde el árbol enhiesto.
. . .
VOLVIENDO A CASA
.
Muy
marcado
en el margen de nuestra vida
así está, el alado y desesperado anhelo
quema y sostiene
siempre.
El eterno dolor se resuelve
en el ojo inflamado
en el corte del codo.
Dios nos observa.
No buscamos más
que la belleza singular
de la victoria
y la muerte
la muerte extermina
los rojos rubores de la rosa
la curvatura del cuello del cardo
los anillos en el árbol del desierto.
Por eso ahora rechazo la muerte
contraproducente
terminal y mortífera
escojo más bien las colinas
y el mar cercano.
. . .
DESEO
.
Las estrellas arriba
artificiosas como alegres campanillas
El fragante rocío
cae en las hojas estropeadas
por la tormenta de ayer
me asomo al pote de hierbas
para leer el mensaje del más allá
Ni una voz, no hay fantasmas que susurren
Sólo voces de pescadores,
recogiendo las redes de caballas
venciendo al tiempo en los tambores de calabaza
En canciones que resuenan en el mar ante ellos
¿Dónde, dónde podrá estar?
¿Adónde habrá ido?
El alegre payaso de la aldea me
llama por mi nombre,
y me da un caurí colorido
en el caurí colorido tú escuchas el mar
y las palpitantes vibraciones de tu propia alma
¿Pero dónde? ¿Dónde podría ser?
El día permanece en quietud
a medida que los años pasan
y me sujetan en la única búsqueda
¿Qué es lo que buscas
en estas cenizas esparcidas por hogares olvidados?
Y en la chimenea donde cuelgan las ollas de la madre
Revelando pasadas tribulaciones
y futuras glorias
¿Glorias? ¿Quién dice que son glorias?
Siento el aroma de sus cuerpos entalcados tras de mí
humedecidos en palmas de olivo
las ropas con olor de alcanfor
sacadas ayer de la caja de la vieja dama.
Dicen que al final del viaje hay un lugar para el descanso
lleno de vacas muertas y sepulturas hambrientas
Que no te dan la oportunidad
Sí, la oportunidad de medir
tus propias limitaciones
Además de tus futuras glorias
Los que llevan los féretros hieden a licor y a vómito
el muerto se levanta, los mira
y vuelve a morir
La luciérnaga te muestra el camino al lugar de los cráneos
y allí te encuentras a ti mismo
reclinándote en una mecedora
observando la armonía de los perdidos
Sí, la ceremonia de los
trotamundos que extraviaron
su camino de regreso a casa
y escogieron el putrefacto
olor de la muerte.
. . .
ALIMENTAR A NUESTRO PUEBLO
.
No me vistas todavía
no me lleves al montículo ante los dolientes.
Aún tengo una cita con
el rocío de la mañana
un poema por escribir
un campo a ser arado
un amante que tocar
alguien a quien consolar
antes que me amortajes
¿Ha llegado ya la invitación desde la India?
Debo ir al encuentro del atardecer
y compartir con las palomas en aquella isla
Debo reencontrarme con mis amigos en Agra
allí me deben cuatro cuadros y una memoria
¿Por qué no estamos pariendo las vacas
o pastoreando las ovejas perdidas
nosotros mismos?
¿Por qué creemos que otros deben guiar nuestros caballos
pastorear nuestras ovejas
y alimentar a nuestro pueblo?
Debemos criar a los niños
y construir caminos
despejar los senderos que van a los campos de cultivo
y purificar los santos lugares,
y ¡oh! debemos encontrarnos
con el húmedo rocío matutino,
trabajar con el sol tempranero
hasta el punto de que venga a casa con nosotros.
Sólo después de la limpieza
podremos sacar afuera nuestros tambores
recordar viejas glorias
y antiguos dolores
con la danza
nuestra danza
cuando la noche final se descargue sobre nuestras cabezas
como lo hizo sobre las de nuestros padres
habremos de retirarnos
a nuestro humilde hogar
tierra segura, satisfechos de haber cumplido
con nuestro deber con el pueblo.
Nos enfrentamos al reto de la historia
y no tuvimos miedo.

.     .     .

Traducciones del inglés al español © 2007, Raúl Jaime Gaviria
. . . . .


Kofi Awoonor: “America” y “A los viejos poetas”

Kofi Awoonor_1935 to 2013

. . .
Kofi Awoonor (Ghanaian poet, 1935-2013)
America
.
A name only once
crammed into the child’s fitful memory
in malnourished villages,
vast deliriums like the galloping foothills of the Colorado:
of Mohawks and the Chippewa,
horsey penny-movies
brought cheap at the tail of the war
to Africa. Where indeed is the Mississippi panorama
and the girl that played the piano and
kept her hand on her heart
as Flanagan drank a quart of moonshine
before the eyes of the town’s gentlemen?
What happened to your locomotive in Winter, Walt,
and my ride across the prairies in the trail
of the stage-coach, the gold-rush and the Swanee River?
Where did they bury Geronimo,
heroic chieftain, lonely horseman of this apocalypse
who led his tribesmen across deserts of cholla
and emerald hills
in pursuit of despoilers,
half-starved immigrants
from a despoiled Europe?
What happened to Archibald’s
soul’s harvest on this raw earth
of raw hates?
To those that have none,
a festival is preparing at graves’ ends
where the mockingbird’s hymn
closes evening of prayers
and supplication, as
new winds blow from graves
flowered in multi-coloured cemeteries,
even where they say the races are intact.
.
From: The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013 (University of Nebraska Press, 2014)
. . .
Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013) was born George Awoonor-Williams in Wheta, Ghana, to ethnic Ewe parents. He was a poet, literary critic, and professor of comparative literature; he served as a kind of “ambassador” for Ghana. Awoonor earned a BA from University College of Ghana, an MA from University College, London, and a PhD in comparative literature from SUNY at Stony Brook, New York state, U.S.A.. He wrote novels, plays, political essays, literary criticism, and several volumes of poetry, including Rediscovery and Other Poems (1964), Night of My Blood (1971), Ride Me, Memory (1973), The House by the Sea (1978), The Latin American and Caribbean Notebook (1992), and a volume of collected poems, Until the Morning After (1987).
.
Awoonor’s grandmother was an Ewe dirge singer, and the form of his early poetry draws from the Ewe oral tradition. He translated Ewe poetry in his critical study Guardians of the Sacred Word and Ewe Poetry (1974). Other works of literary criticism include: The Breast of the Earth: A Survey of the History, Culture, and Literature of Africa South of the Sahara (1975).
.
In the early 1970s, Awoonor served as chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at SUNY Stony Book. He returned to Ghana in 1975 to teach at University College of Cape Coast. In Ghana, he was arrested and tried for suspected involvement in a coup d’état. He was imprisoned without trial and was later released; he wrote about his time in jail in The House by the Sea. Awoonor resumed teaching after his prison sentence. In the 1980s he was the Ghanaian ambassador to Brazil and Cuba and served as ambassador to the United Nations from 1990 to 1994; in 1990 he published Ghana: A Political History from Pre-European to Modern Times.
.
Awoonor is author of the novels This Earth, My Brother (1971) and Comes the Voyager at Last: A Tale of Return to Africa (1992). He died randomly with other innocents in the Westgate shopping-mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya in September of 2013.

. . .
“A los viejos poetas” por Kofi Awoonor de Ghana – su poema traducido en español durante El Festival de la Poesía Internacional de Medellín (Colombia), 2007:


Ghana’s Rising Star: Rocky Dawuni

Rocky Dawuni in Toronto 1_August 14th 2015Singer/songwriter Rocky Dawuni performed with his band at Harbourfront last night. All day and evening was rainy but those of us who made the trek down to Lake Ontario got swept up in the Ghanaian music artist’s “positive vibrations”. Rambunctious joy and passionate sincerity were the hallmarks of Dawuni’s personality, and for style and content the influence of Fela Kuti and – most especially – Bob Marley, made for a Best of Summer 2015 experience here in Toronto!

Rocky Dawuni in Toronto 2_August 14th 2015Rocky Dawuni in Toronto 3_August 14th 2015


Poets from Ghana: New Voices in 2015: Adwini-Poku, Dadson, Atsu, Nartey, Kyeraah

Sunflower in Toronto_Summer 2015
Lambert Adwini-Poku
“But Sometimes, When We Touch –”
.
But sometimes when we touch,
the tears of yesterday when eyes turned rain
and the heart felt alone in the crowd
that was when your voice set it free.
.
But sometimes when we touch,
the shadows of psychology and emotions
and the fullness of the mind with no data
that was when your face melted away loneliness.
.
But sometimes when we touch,
the warmth of anger and of its illness
and when no distinction was made
that was when your embrace smiled at me.
.
But sometimes when we touch,
the deafening of the sense organs
and when eyes, nose, and ears were meaningless
that was when your note in my hand breathed on me.
.
But sometimes when we touch,
the concept of reality and destiny
and of may and/or may not
that is when our lives are determined.
.
But sometimes when we touch,
we touch love and friendship.
. . .
Kay Dadson
“Paper Planes”
.
Sometimes, we fly like paper planes

Gliding in the air, silent, with no roar of a jet.

Sometimes proud, putting on the mane like we’re never gonna hit the dirt.

Changing our lanes every time we get hurt.

With the least turbulence and bad weather

We turn around or pummel to the ground when we experience danger.

Fly like a jumbo;

Not depending solely on the flow.

Fly majestically. Ride the wild winds.

Break through the ice in the clouds.

Even if you begin to fall,

Do not enter the state of dismay, whether in a stall.

This ain’t no mayday, do not make that call.

You may have struck ice,
but believe in yourself.
You ain’t no titanic.

This day isn’t that different. Enjoy it.

It’s a can-day.

Fire the engines once again. Make that ascent.

Be a jetfighter. Let the stars cream.

Like a transformer, make some changes.

As the typhoon, ride the winds. Take the journey across.

Your weakness may be air-to-ground but I think we all agree:

that isn’t your purpose.

Be a sidewinder missile. Seek your target,

Don’t give up. Do not explode. No. Not just yet.

Like the shuttle, launch into space, out of this domain.

Not even the sky is your limit.

Time to close this piece. Returning to base.

Continue to be who you are. Be different.
. . .
Patrick K. Atsu
“The Bleeding Heart”
.
Serenity blushes the shadows mild
And blow soft wind like “pepi”
As your dent romances me with pains
That worm over my body like death.
.
Erecting my emotions like breath
As disappointments walk me through this journey of solitary
With my prints clapping in the sands
Hiding my fears in clouds of tears.
.
As if there were no you tomorrow
Here the scorching sun shivers
Sharing her cries over my head
To console this bereft heart
.
That bleeds in tons of memories
With skips of pages one after the other
To silent the sweet tastes
That last but for a while.
.
It is this bleeding heart.

. . .

Jonathan Nartey
“How did Death find Me?”
.

How did Death find me?
I thought I was just dreaming.
O, like seriously:
I slapped death.
I know you can’t!
But I just did.
.
Look!
This is how I reprobated his blue.
I fetched the sky for him to sip
Since his throat was dusty
Like the harmattan.
Yet still a smile did not dance on his face.
.
Again!
The waft of the volcano slapped him up
So he was dripping here like a crying bottle
Filled with unflustered water.
Poor you!
O poor you!
.
Look!
I pleaded with the heavens
For the seed of air
Since Mr. Death was dripping here
Like nobody’s business.
.
Hm, hm, hm.
I can’t believe this.
Mr. Death is indeed a Judas.
Upon all the things I did for you, Mr. Death,
You made me devour the knife.
.
O Mr. Death,
So can you crunch the moon?
.
O Mr. Death,
O Mr. Death,
Did you know deep within that
I’m more than a Victor?
No, you don’t!
Yes! I know very well you don’t!
. . .

Dorothy Kyeraah
“I’m Pressing On Still”
.
On rocky ground I did fall

But up I got and still am pressing on

Tears did soak my pillow all day

But my heart be not weary

Oh I am pressing on

My eyes still on the prize

Though my feet hurt

I shall not rest

‘Cos am still holding onto the prize

With sore feet and trembling hands

I will crawl to the throne

To receive my own crown

Even with tattered clothes

I will retire not till I get hold of the gold.
. . .
Dorothy Kyeraah
“Gazing at the Sun”

.
Gazing at the sun in the late of the day

I am lost in thought of life so infinite

What tomorrow brings so bleak my mind goes wandering

Yet in this element lies the seed of life

Going down it casts its beautiful bright light

A sight so spectacular it blows my mind

It gets me to wonder at the power of the creator

And the awesome beauty it beholds

Colours so bright you just name them

As the day closes and this beauty fades away

It is almost as if all hope is lost

Yet early next morning there it is

Mighty Sun from the east does appear

Vibrant and majestic it shines in all glamour

And powers the whole earth.

. . . . .