Two Poems

 

Mapuche poet Liliana Ancalao. Photo: Morena Aimé Martínez.

pu zomo engu wütre

iñche kimun wütre feichi pichizomongen
guardapolvo mew
dumiñkuley
iñche ñi chaw ñi rambler clasic amulafuy
müley iñ namuntuael eskuela mew
katrütuantüiñ
chi pu wafün foro kataeyew iñ pichi ilo
iñchengefun kiñekeluku kutrafulu
pifuiñ müna wütre
ta iñ leliael chi puzüngu ñi kuyuan
iñ kompañküleael

chi pu ñuke kom
wütreleyngun
iñche ñi ñuke pichizomongey
cushamen mew miawi alpargata mew piren mew
kintumapulu pu kapura
iñche konümpanien ñi ñuke
ñi chokonkenamun
ka kiñe weshazuam kapura
tufey engün pofo ñamlu
ka müley ñi kintuchenorume

ñi ñuke eñumngeeiñ mew
feyngey kiñe konkülen
müley ñi eñumngeael pichikeche
ruku furi namun pilun
feypi ka tremingün ñi pu changkiñ ñi pu tapül
newenmaeyew engün pichikeche pukem mew
ka kiñeke mew tripapayantü ka feyengün takuleingün
tremtremyelu am pu lipang
müley iñ wellimael tüfey pichikechangkiñ
ñochizüngun mew

welu chi wütre rumel ngelay
iñche kim
tüfey pun epulef lof mew
umerküleiñ wallrupa mew iñ piwke lifmapu mew
eufemia ürkütufuy kamarikunpurun mew
ka chi pun reyimi ñi pichikal chi kachu mew

wünngefuy
eufemia nepey
chi trangliñ chi kal mew
ka chi wütre tüfey rupa wünniefuy
ka newenayefuy engu inchiñ
füchaley tüfa wütre
pieiñ mew

chi pu zomo kimuiñ alüantü
iñ nieael kiñe antü mongen mew
amulelu chillkalelu kiñe kutral rüpü
waria mew
welu zuamnielaiñ
kimlan chem mew llamngkum tüfachi
tüfey rupanantu iñche zuamngefun
pu karukal media
rüpüwaria katrütulu

chi pu waria mew
wütre yifküeiñ mew chi pu lüli
katay fozkapel mew
yom trürngey
femnechi miawfun
ka chi pun mew
mulefuy kiñe wentru iñche ñi kawitu
ka kiñe pichiwechengey ka kiñe konangey
iñche küpa neyülafun newen mew

niey kümeketakuwkug
tüfa wentru
fey mew chem mew iñche amun
pelu ñi kintuael iñche
ñi aftükuenew
kulafawlul pu ishümreforo
iñche ñi ange mew

chumngechi ükümaukün ngean
pelalu am iñche

tremokünuwlu

yom müley
uyülen
tüfa wütre mew
kallfümollfüñ wütre

 

women and the cold

i learned about the cold back when i still wore a school uniform
when it was dark out
and my old man’s rambler classic wouldn’t start
we’d have to walk all the way to class
traversing time
sharp teeth biting into
our skinny bodies
i was a pair of achy knees
we used to say it’s so cold
just to watch our breath form the words
that kept us company

all mothers
everywhere
have felt the cold
when my mother was a little girl in cushamen
she walked through the snow in woven sandals
herding goats
i was born with the memory of her frozen feet
and a dislike for goats
silly nannies always wandering off and getting lost
and you have to go out into the void
to find them

my mother bundled us up well
she’s like the inside
you have to bundle up your children’s
chests
backs
feet and ears
that’s what mothers always say
and they sprout leaves and branches
and protect their children from the winter
and sometimes the sun comes out and they shield them
because they grow wild and leggy
and the new shoots must be
pinched back
slowly
using words

but the cold’s not always that way
I know because that night in aldea epulef
we hardly slept
around our heart beneath the stars
eufemia was resting from the ceremonial dance
and night mistook her short hair for grass

at dawn eufemia awoke
with her hair full of frost
and then the cold found its voice
and laughed with us
even the cold is getting old people said

we women learn
late
that at a certain time in our lives
almost without trying
our footsteps leave a trail of fire
all over town
and i don’t know why we ever lose it
or why that afternoon i needed
thick wool stockings to walk through the streets

in the city the cold
flakes away skin
needles the nape
talks longer and louder
that’s what i felt and at night
there was a man in my bed
or was he a youth or a small child
i tried not to breathe deeply

his hands were warm
so then why did i leave
to see if he would come looking for me or leave me
to the bird bones
plastering my face

like the echo of the silence i will be
if he doesn’t find me

because I tried to make myself beautiful

oh it plunges me deep
this blue
blooded cold

 

pu zomo engu kürüf

fey wiñolekey
pepikawenew chi griega
rulpalu chi kafe bora
pifuenew kiñe wentru mew
inche rakizuamfun ta chi kürüf mew

chi kürüf wiñokey
welu tüfa waria wimlay
miawi
fillke rupa
auka rüpüwaria mew
kuyümkoron mew
ñamüntrekaneiñ mew

chi pu ishüm
üpünüingün
chi pu nümün pu takun pinüfüingün
pepikawlay chi ruka
chi kim chillfuy
feymew
müley iñ tükuael chi pava
pepikaael kiñeke mate
üngümael ñi amun
kiñekeantü mew
regleantü
¡iñey kimi!
kuyentrafkintu mew

reke kiñe llükafalkürüf
ngerkefuy chi malon
kiñe meulen traf chi pu antü
yafüngellele rume chi kuificheyem
reke pulil
newenküley rume
tüfeymew mülen ñi mollfüñ

püdüm
pifuen chuchu
ni kimngey chi laufken
iñche wefn ofülül kiñe ünu

faw chi pun rupa pürnagi
chi kürüf raraüi
kacharnentulu chi pu apill rupa
mülekaiñ
chi pu wingkul chafküleyngün
tüfeymew maiwi ignacia quintulaf ñi ngillatun
wiñolalu am ñi piñeñ
yerwefitruñ
azukarfitruñ
pralu
zoy taüll
ürkütunantüngey ñi züngun

chi kürüf wiñokeley
küpa yerpueiñ küpa malüy iñ pu follil
yeniey kiñeke zomo wingüdnentueyew engün
wallkiaweyew engün
iñche zoy ayün tüfey fanelay ke rütron
tüfa trongekeforo mew
pafialu traf cemento

fey wiñolekey
welu llükanienge
yom fey pifuy
chi griega
amualuam fey

chi kürüf llochoy
chi nagmapu ailinkünuwi

kiñe olmo ta tüfa
ñi lamngen zichoy
kiñe foron kiñeketapül
ñümilu kintulu
rakizuamn ñi küpaliael
ñi fün boulevard mew chi kürüf
¿peymi? faw müley ka

iñche küpa pin
ricardo
ñi pu yall pelongeyngün
reke tüfa engün olmo
welu petu nien kuyüm
chi pu troi mew
ka mülelayngün züngun

iñey kimi chew nganküleeyew engün
chi kürüf

 

women and the wind

he will always come back
the greek woman warned
reading my coffee grounds
and she was talking about a man
but i thought about the wind

the wind always comes back
but this city never gets used to it
each time
it swirls
its frenzy through the streets
painting them with earth
erasing all our footsteps

birds wheel away from us
followed by smells
and bits of clothing
the house sings off key
memories break apart
and we have to put the kettle on
brew yerba mate
and wait
for it to go away
in a few days
a few weeks
who knows
with the change of the moon

they say the ambush 
was like a tremendous wind
whirling against the days
even though the old ones were hard
as rocks
solid
their blood lay splattered
everywhere
that’s what you told me grandmother
and your memories are the lake
where i bend down
to take a sip

and back here the night itself is blotted out
the wind roars
erasing even the desire to remain rooted
the hillsides must be stripped by now
out where ignacia quintulaf still laments
her lost son
burnt grass and sugar smoke
rising just
a little higher than the taill
and her voice is a pause

the wind always comes back to women
it tries to break us
test our roots
drag some of us 
away
or send us flying
but i prefer those tumbleweeds
to these heavy bones
that shatter against concrete

he will always come back
but don’t be afraid
the greek woman
added
because he’ll leave as well

the wind subsides
and the planet slowly clears

this is an elm tree
my brother points
to a slender stalk with a few leaves
emerging from the ground
in defiance
the wind must have carried its seed to us
across the boulevard
you see? here’s another one

what i’m trying to say
ricardo
is that your children are as bright
as these small elms
but i still have
sand
in my creases
and no words

those seeds
the wind will carry
who knows where

Note:
Taill (also taiel): Mapuche sacred song, sung by a machi (shaman). 

Translated via the Spanish by Wendy Burk

Read more multilingual poems by Liliana Ancalao in World Literature Today.

Languages

LALT No. 5
Number 5

LALT No. 5 features powerful literary voices from across Latin America, including dossiers of essential writers Sergio Pitol and Victoria de Stefano, a special selection of Latin American chronicles curated by Felipe Restrepo Pombo, and a moving collection of trilingual poems by Mapuche poet Liliana Ancalao.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

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Featured Author: Sergio Pitol

Dossier: Victoria de Stefano

Latin American Science Fiction

Indigenous Literature

Latin American Chronicle

Poetry

Nonfiction

Interviews

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