Six Poems

 

Fall, Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Neltume, Chile. Photo: Ricardo Alfaro, Unsplash.

Petu kvpa pewmalen tvfachi mapu mew

Mawvn nvtrvgkvnutufi kvrvf
         ñi trarin
ka, wenu, ti fvtra vl tripay zugun
fillem ñi feypiley ñi neal choyvn
Mvlewma fentren kulliñ —pilerpuy
mawizantu, pichike lafken
         vñvm kvme zugu
Umerkvlen amun:
Iñche ñi pewi mu, kiñe fvcha
kizu vgvm ñi wiñomeal ti
         pu llampvzkeñ
ñi pichike gemun tremkvlen
        antv mew
Ramtukenueli tunten tripantv
        ñi nien pienew fey mu
        ayvwkvlean
Chumael tukulpageafuy ti genolu?
Ñi newen tukulpan mew mogeley
        ta Mapu
ka fey mu mvley taiñ Kuyfikeche
        tañi mollfvñ
Kimaymi, kimaymi, chumgelu —feypi
petu kvpa pewmalelfun tvfachi
        Mapu mew?

 

I Still Wish to Dream of this Valley

The rains touch the strings
        of his air
and, above, he is the chorus that utters
        the sound of fertility
There were many animals, he is saying
woods, lakes, birds good words
I walk on with my eyes closed:
I see, in me, the old man
who awaiting the return
        of the butterflies
resides in the days of his youth
Don’t ask my age, he tells me
        and I will be happy
why put into words that which
        does not exist?
In the energy of memory
        lives the Earth
and in her the blood of the
        Ancestors
Will you understand, will you understand
        why, he says
I still wish to dream of this Valley?

 

Nienolu vy tañi newen ta iñche

Pewman ta we Kvyen mew, pi
ka kvzawkefiñ ta lelfvn
Petu ñi zugu genon
ka rayen rume genon femvn
(welu zoy alv kamapu)
Tvfawla ñi pu ñawe zeumalkefiñ
lien ruka
ka kvrvf negvmvñ ma meke enew
        ñi logko
pvrakawellkvlen wente relmu
Witrunko ta iñche
Umawtulen amuley lafken
        iñche mew
ka nepey ta mawizantu
Nienolu vy tañi newen
        ta iñche, pi
tuway mane chi antv: Tami vl.

 

Because I Am the Strength of the Unnamed

I have dreamt of the crescent Moon,
        he says
and I have worked the fields
Before words
and before flowers I was
(and further)
For my daughters I build
the house of silver
while with my hair
        in the wind
I ride horseback on the rainbow
I am the water that runs
Sleeping goes the sea in me
and the mountain awakes
Because I am the strength of
        the unnamed, he says
crown of the sun: Your song.

 

Ini rume ñamvm noel chi llafe

Feyti vlkantun che mu rume
        kvmelay, pigeken
Ka fey ti mawizantu ayiwigvn
        ti pu aliwen
ñi kallfv folil mu egvn
ka ñi chagvll negvmi ti kvrvf
chalilerpuy vñvm egu
        ti Pvnon Choyke
Feyti vlkantun alvkonchi wirarvn
        feyti pu lalu
kiñe pin ti tapvl rimv mew
feyti weñagkvn feyti wecheche
ñi petu zugu ñi kewvn
welu ñami ñi pvllv
Feyti vlkantun, ti vlkantun fey
kiñe pewma feyti afvl chi mapu
tami ge ka iñche ñi ge, vlcha
allkvfe piwke, ka feychi
        vl zugulvn
Ka zoy pilayan, ini rume penolu
ti llafe ini rume ñamvn nolu
Ka vlkantun fey ñi vl tañi
        pu Kuyfikeche
pukem antv mu vy lu ka chonglu
feyta chi kisu zwam weñagkvn.

 

The Key No One Has Lost

Poetry is useless
        they tell me
And in the woods the trees
        caress one other
with their blue roots
and rustle their branches the air
waving hello with birds
        the Rhea Track
Poetry is the deep whisper
        of the murdered
the murmur of leaves in the fall
the sadness over the boy
who holds on to his tongue
but has lost his soul
Poetry, poetry
is a movement, a dream, the landscape
your eyes and my eyes little girl
heart ears, the same music
And I’ll say no more, because no one
        will find
the key no one has lost
And poetry is the song of my
        Ancestors
the winter day that burns
        and extinguishes
this most personal melancholy.

 

Tami tremoam ta kvpan, pienew ti Foye

Tami tremoam ta kvpan, pienew
        ti Foye
Kvpage ka gvmituge ñi tapvl, ñi
fvn pipiyeenew
Wallkapvle kvpay mi kvmeke zomo
        Machi ñi kvmeke wentru Machi
meli trokiñ Mapu mew
meli trokiñ ko mew
gillanzuguayu, pipiyeenew ñi
        pu newen
mi pu fvw kechi kalvl mew, mi
        pu foro mew, mi mollfvñ mew
Kam rupa elimi am taiñ pu che?
Pvraman tañi llellipun, pifiñ
Ay, ñi pu rakizwam wvzaygu
        ñi lewfvmu ñi piwke:

Feyta nomekintun chi Elvgkura,
        iñche mu, pimi
Oo! Genechen, kvpatulen tami
kochv kvrvf, tami newen,
        tami neyen
Feyta ta vlkantu fegeay, pimi
wvlmeketew Kallfvkawell zugun
Wenu Mapu mu kvtu puway ñi
        Pewma mu tati
kalvl zugulefi tati pu kayñe
        ñi werken
Zuguli ta allkvanew ñi kimvn
anvmka lawen mew ka pu rayen mu
        Femgechi feypimi
Iñche rupa goymafun ñi pu
        Fvchakecheyem ñi gvlam
fey mu fewla kutrankvlen
Ñi rakizwam wvza tripaygvn ñi
        Lewfvlen Piwke mu

Azkintuen, petu pewman fey mu
petu pvran tami tapvl mew
Feyti puliwen KallfvTtraytrayko
gvforvmapaenew ñi mvllfvwvn
        ñi ko mew
Pvran, pvrayu, welu tvgvm enew
        challwa ñi ñochi zugun
Feyka trekan ti nvmvn tripachi
        mawizantu mu
Ka rumen mu purun. Kisu mu
        pvltrvley ñi newen
Kvmeke Pelontun ka kvmeke Pewma
        tuway manieyu
Gvman may fey mu, gvman
        rofvlnienew ñi Foye ñi pvllv.

 

I Came To Heal You, Spoke the Canelo

I came to heal you, spoke
        the sacred Tree
Go and collect my leaves, my
seeds, he is telling me
From all around they came
        your good Machi women
        my good Machi men
from the four Earths,
from the four waters
we shall intercede, they are telling me
        his powers
in your nerves, in your bones
        in your veins
Or do you wish, perhaps, to leave behind
        our people?
I will send up my prayers, I tell him
Oh, my thoughts drifted away
        from the placid rivers
        of my heart:
This one will be Transparent Stone
        so say I, you said
Ooh! Genechen, send me your breath
        your expiration of powerful air
This one will be a singer, you said
turning over to me the Blue horse
        of the word
He will get all the way to the Land Above
        in his Dreams
confusing the messenger of
        his enemies
He will hear me when I speak from
        the sap of the plants
        and from the flowers. So you said
But I went and forgot the advice
        of the Elder Women
        and of the Elder Men
that is why I am sick now
My thoughts strayed away
        from the gentle Rivers
        of your Heart.

Look at me, I am dreaming I have
        climbed up your leaves
The Blue Waterfall of morning
        came and wet my lips
        with her waters
I climbed, I climbed with them, but
        I was held tight by the burbling 
        of the fishes
I walked over the aroma
        of the forests
Then I danced. In him
        hung my power
The good Visions and the good
        Dreams surrounded him
And I cried, I cried, in the arms
        of the spirit of my Canelo.

 

Femgechi amuley ñi pewma ñi pelon kintun

Ti zugun ta Kultrun zugun
        kechiley
fey feypiyeenew ñi pu Kuyfikeche
welu gvnewkvley ñi kizu kimneel
chi kimvn mu egvn
Feymew tami azkan kimvn mew
nvtramkay mu tami pu wenviemu
ka fey weupimeamy pu wigkaemu

Wente relmu mew pvralen ta
        wifentu yawvlfiñ mapu
meli gen kvrvf ta afkazineenew
Kam tromv mu chi kewan
taiñ kayñe iñchiñ chi —pilerpuy
        ñi rakizwam
kam kiñe antv mollfvñ ta
kolotualu trokiwvn
tañi pu Che ñi rvpv.

 

And So My Dreams, My Visions Pass

Words are like the sound
        of the Kultrun
my Ancestors are telling me
as they are cradled in the mystery
        of wisdom
This is why, with your flowery language
you will converse with those who are friends
and will go to parley with the winka

Sat astride a rainbow I travel
        through the world
the four masters of the wind
        go with me
Perhaps in the clouds I must do battle
        with our enemies,
        I think as I go
perhaps one day I will paint in blood
the paths of my People.

 

Llellipun wenu mapu ñi kurantumalal mew
(Machivl ñi vlkantun)

Tvfa tayiñ kemvl gillatupeyem,
pikey ta pu Machi
May, eymvn ta kimnieymvn:
Pu Logko, Fvchakeche ka pu
Wechekeche Wenu Mapu mvlelu
Mvleymvn wvnmalechi zeqvñ mew
ka kuyfike Machi allkvtulelu
        tayiñ llellipun
Tvfa tañi mvlen kutrankvlechi
        wentru: neyeley
Kisu tranakvnukifilmvn
kvpalelfiyiñ ta fewla
        tayiñ lawen
ka, taiñ metawe mew, kvpalelfiyiñ
        liwen lvgko
Kvpage!, tayiñ pvllv mew
nieyiñ ta mogen wayzvf pvle
        witrukechi lewfv ñi ko
Pvtokoge. Welu ay Genechen
eymi mvten ta fvskvmafimi
Fey mu ka eymi ta zuguwkeyiñ
        weza kvrvf
Chem weza fvtra vgpun
        ka zumiñkvleymi
epe konchi antv mew
        ta miyawkeymi?
Eymi ta zuguwkeyiñ vypvratuchi
        kvtral
koylatukelu ka ellka narvmpelu
        kizu ñi age
Ya!, amutuge ka wetrofige tati
        rvgi wvlelvñ ma mu pefiel
        taiñ fotvm:
Ponon mew, ñi amupeyem ñi mollfvñ
        feychi piwke
Wekvfv ñi lloftuniel zewma
gvrv reke, chem weza weraw
mvpvlechi logko reke,
        rayvlechi qvla
reke kimelpelu ñi mvleal
wezakezugu
Ñi kvme nvmvn lawen mew amutuge
feypikey ta pu Machi, eymi weza
pewma reke mvlekeymi zewma
konvn antv mew
nelvmge!, kiñepvle kvnuwge mi pun
leliwvlfige Kallfvley liwen
        ñi ayliñ
Eymi kay, witrage fotvm
Llellipun pipigey Wenu Mapu
        ñi kurantumalal mew
ka nepeyey pu kona ka kvpaygvn
ka zew kvpaygvn
Oo! wilvfi pichike chalwa reke
kvpalu Wenu Mapu
zewma kvpayey ta liwkvn fvtrake
        manke antv.

 

I Pray On the Rocky Walls of the Sky
(Poem in the way of the Machi women’s song)

These are the ritual words
        say the Machi women
Yes, you all know them well:
Chiefs, Elders, and Youth
        of the Land Above
You all, dwellers of the volcano
        dawning
and ancient Machi men who hear
        our prayers
Here is the sick man:
        breathe
Don’t leave him alone now
        for we have brought him
        medicinal herbs
and, in our pitchers, the crystalline
        water of dawn
Come! We have in our souls
the life of the rivers that rise
toward the East
Drink. But ay, Genechen
only you will make her soothe
This is why we speak also to you
        wicked wind
How deeply cunning and dark
        a yawn must you be
to wander in the twilight
        of the day?
We speak to you resurrected wind
that lies and hides
        your true face
Enough! Go and break the cane
with which you beat our son:
In the lungs, in the blood
        the heart
Wicked force that stalks
        deceitful in sight
like just another fox, like any old
        guairao, like heads flying
like flowering quilas that
        herald our sorrows
Get going in the fragrance
of our remedies, the Machi women say
you who moves like a bad dream
        in the dusk
Let go! Release your darkness
look, for Blue is the light
        of the morning
And you, lift yourself up, son
The prayers are repeated
on the rocky walls of the sky
and the warriors awaken
and come, now they come
Ooh! Like little fishes shining
from the Land Above
they come, the transparent
        and lofty condors
        of the sun.

Poems from De sueños azules y contrasueños [Of blue dreams and counter-dreams] (1995)

Translated via the Spanish by Arthur Malcolm Dixon

Languages

Elicura Chihuailaf
Number 16

In our sixteenth issue, we celebrate Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf, who in 2020 became the first indigenous writer to receive Chile's National Prize for Literature. We also feature dossiers dedicated to the work of Andrés Neuman, Latin American literary criticism, and the Latin American essay, plus a bilingual selection of texts from Dispatches from the Republic of Letters: 50 Years of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature commemorating Gabriel García Márquez, the first Latin American author to win the prestigious Neustadt Prize.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Elicura Chihuailaf

Dossier: Andrés Neuman

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters

Latin American Literary Criticism

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Interviews

Brazilian Literature

Chronicle

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene