Amulelafin tañi laku, Adolfo Huinao
Tañi williche laku ge mew
Lalu wüla chogümnagümi feychi llükan aychüf.
chogümnolu tami konümpawe mew,
lafken tañi pu wapi afünka
nüwkülelu ñi age mew.
konümpalan chi txoy antü.
Kanzu müten penefin
gülamekel ka txapümekel
ñi pu müpü lelfün püle.
Tañi püchü tuwülün txekan, laku
chew llegün tami pu nemül.
Füchalewewyekelu ta eymi
witxampüramen mapu mew
fey tami wün mew llegüy ta lan
anümüwpulu tami ina lafken mew.
Tami chaw ka tami peñi
kawenigü az kutxankawün püle petu tañi ñuke ka iñche tañi laku
zipufigü chi inafül güñun.
Gelay kemzulla mawüzantü mew ga,
ñüküf nagümmageymi tami nemül.
Welu iñche tañi llükalechi püchü mogen
famtukuluwpuy tañi pu txipantüñi chelkon mew.
Mafülüfin tami pu ge ñi weñag
fey txaftu azkintufiyu lelfün:
kiñe wapi tañi pu kanzu egü
tañi laku ñi ge mew mülewey
inan leliwülün mew.
Laku, fachantü kimtun
chumkawnorume williche gekelaymi;
tami chono küpankam kawaskar
püralay tagi mew
feychi antü weñeymagepalu tami mapu ka tami folil.
Tüfa wüla ke kimtukufin
tami pu ge ñi weñag.
Tami rüpalwe kentxaykülelu
chi Pacífico Sur ñi
fütxa eltun mew.
The Geese Say Goodbye
To my grandfather, Adolfo Huinao
In my Williche grandfather’s eyes
fear set sail.
erased that timid gleam.
But nature could never
erase from my memory
the colors of the archipelago
arrested in his face.
I must be true to you, grandfather:
I don’t remember the exact day.
I only see the geese
as they open and close
their wings over the fields.
With my baby steps, grandfather
I couldn’t understand
the origins of your words.
Old as you were
you lifted me in your arms
and from your mouth death sprouted
pulling its boat to your beach.
Your father and brother
rowed off to the sacrifice
while you and your mother
at last reached hunger’s shore.
So hushed were your words
the mountains held no echo.
But like the frightened child I was
I curled into your years and found refuge.
I held on tight to your pain
and together we gazed at the field:
an island teeming with geese
is what I glimpsed
looking through your eyes.
Grandfather, I know now
you were never truly Williche.
On the day they stole your land
and your roots
your Chono or Kaweskar origins
never made it on board.
Now I understand
the pain in your eyes
your origins sailing
the deep graveyard
of the southern Pacific Ocean.
- Williche: In the Mapudungun language, “southern people.” The group of Mapuche people who live in the southern Mapuche lands.
- Chono, Kaweskar: Indigenous maritime peoples whose traditional islands were south of the Williche. Kaweskar people remain in small numbers. It is considered that no living Chono people remain.
Life and Death Become One
When I look back
I can see the road
and the footprints I leave behind.
On both sides ancient trees rise up
interspersed with bitter plants.
But their shadows are the same height
from my garden.
That’s where I learned to prepare the land
to carefully space the seeds
so the young plants can be hilled.
“This is your life”
my father told me once
placing a fistful of earth in my hand.
It was so black, so full of grit.
My little palm trembled.
“Don’t be afraid,” he told me
“so the years won’t weigh you down.”
He closed his hand over mine
and the tiny inhabitants
stopped moving against my palm.
Fear shot through me like a spear.
One wordless moment
was all it took
to show me the terror of death
we each hold within us.
My father taught me simply
with his wise nature
how life and death become one
within my closed hand
so I would not fear the road when it leads me
toward the land of my ancestors.
Our fingers uncurled
and with one breath life returned
to the tiny universe in the palm of my hand.
Translated from Spanish to Mapudungun by Clara Antinao
Translated from Spanish to English by Wendy Burk
Graciela Huinao is a Mapuche-Williche poet and storyteller. She was born in the community of Chaurakawin, near the city of Osorno. She published her first poem, "La Loika," in 1987. Her books include Walinto (2001), a bilingual verse collection, and La nieta del brujo (2003), a collection of Williche stories. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and she has traveled internationally to present her poems and stories.
Wendy Burk is the author of Tree Talks: Southern Arizona, from Delete Press, which was named to Entropy’s list of the best poetry books of 2016. She is the translator of Tedi López Mills’s Against the Current, from Phoneme Media, and While Light Is Built, from Kore Press. With M.J. Fievre, Wendy co-translated Magela Baudoin’s short story collection Sleeping Dragons, forthcoming from Schaffner Press in 2018.