Four Poems


View of the Andes. Photo: Andrés Medina, Unsplash.


Pachamama qami kawsayta munanki
Qam llakinki nuqakunapaq
Qam waqanki nuqakunapaq
Qam llakimankillapa
Qam waran waran chapamankillapa

Rupay rupay usuranki
Michka tamya shamutinmapis
Michka aylluykuna rupachishutinmapis   
Michka imata tukutinmapis
Manam piñakunkichu
Manam ĉiqnimankillapachu
Manam musyamankillapachu
Manam imatapis tukunkichu

Pachamama qamlam kanki

Qam kawsachimankillapa
Waran waran kawsachimankillapa
Waran waran asikuchimankillapa
Pachamama qammi kanki apukunanulla
Payqi nishuni, payqi nishun wamraykikuna.


Mother Earth

Oh Mother Earth, you offer up your life
Dying in my sorrow
Crying my tears
Sucking out the heavy blow of my pain
Doing your will, you focus your eyes on me

While the flames lick your chest
While the waves torture your strength
My nation attacks your faith
My nation injures your freedom
And you invent nothing
No angers
No hatreds
Much less
A legion of mockeries
Your motherly love
Does not lose faith
Does not lose love

Mother Earth
Omnipotent mother
With your deities
Along with the sun
Along with the moon
And along with life

You give as a gift the will to live
With your corn that are life
With your bean that is to live
With your potato that is the elixir of life
With your squash that is life.



Atun yaya Pachakamak
Wayra kusata pukakamunna
Rupaymapis kusatana qarwaramun 
Killaraq kusata lipyamun

Pukutaykunamapis kusata llantukamunna
Atun yaya Pachakamak
Qam nitiqmi tamyamunmapis   
Qam nitiqmi pachamapis kuyunqa       

Atun yaya Pachakamak
Makiykipi ĉurani riqchaqniyta 
Makiykimanta aypakunillapa  
Tukuy riqchaq kurukunaraq
Quĉakuna waqayniyki
Qullurkuna nawiyki
Wayrakuna amayniyki
Atun qaqakuna qaqllayki
Uqshakuna aqchayki

Atun yaya Pachakamak 
Kaypi makyachishuni tarpuyniyta
Kaypi qampaq puquyniyki
Kayraykumi kawsanillapa      
Payqi atun yaya Pachakamak
Payqi atun yaya pachakamakachiq.



Oh all-powerful god of the earth
Your hurricane breath begins to blow
Scourging the sparks of the sun
And striking dumb the moonbeams
Up to the clouds frozen in black flames

Oh great, highest god
With your pride drunk on delirium
Your tears spill up to the sky
Nerves lose strength down to the earth

Great god of the earth
I wrap up my faith in your hands
And in your arms I abandon my strength
And all the birds cry

And the rivers are drops of your tears
The stars are your pupils
The winds are your sigh
The hills are your pale face
The ichu your black hair

Omnipotent god
This is my strength
This is your seed
This is the life I conquered
I offer you my thanks
Oh god
This is me giving my thanks.


Ayaq Tuktu

Karuman rikarin yuraq tuktituykikuna
Ichapis kusa millanaytaraq asyaranki
Yuraq tuktituyki kusa shumaqta rikarin
Yuraqwan chiqyaq piĉukasha karuman shutiran
Ichapis kusa millanaytaraq asyaranki. 


Karullamanta mutkishur qammanta ashun
Karullamanta sinkankunata qamyachinki  
Karullamanta asyaqta mutkishur riqsishunllapa.

Ichapis nuqata alliyachimanki 
Aylluyta alliyachinki
Qishaqkunata alliyachinki
Ayaq tuktu, ayaq tuktitu
Imapaqraq asyanki?

Imapaqraq ayanaykipaq kashkanqa? 
Imapaqraq, imapaqraq waknu kanaykipaq kashkanqa? 
Manam llakimankichu, nuqapis manam
Allichakutiqmi ayaqllamatapis munashunillapa
Ayaq tuktu, ayaq tuktitu
Chaynu ayaqllamatapis munashunillapa.


Bitter Flower

Your white petals with their gentle scent revive the pale afternoon
But the gas of your turbid fragrance is a frenzy,
The petals of your white flower curl up
Dying green and white shine in the distance
But the color of your aroma asphyxiates my tastebuds

The hogs that cross
The dogs that bark
The birds that fly
The sheep graze

They taste like a fistful of your perfume
From up close, the smell shoots pangs through their noses
And the distance does not stop your aroma’s flight
But you counteract the false venom of my sick life

You cure my culture
You cure the ills of life
Lovely flower, bitter little flower
Why so bitter your aroma?

Why were you born with this cursed fragrance?
I feel you have no pity for me
For your healing arts, you are loved no matter how bitter
Lovely flower, bitter little flower
No matter how bitter, I love you, my Quechua.


¿Imataq Kanchik?

Qiruchu kani?
Rumichu kani?
Wayrachu kani?
Qashaychu kani?
Ĉiqniychu kani?
Llakiychu kani?

Imapaq waknu kayshunllapa kay pachapiqa?
Imapaq ĉiqninakuyshunllapa?
Imapaq maqanakuyshunllapa?

Qichqanta rinka saqra saqra chapanna
Mana kayinichu imapaqraq waknu kayshunllapa!
Paykunapura ĉiqninakunllapa
Paykunapura waqachinakunllapa

Maykamanraq mushuqyachinka yaypurninta
Maykamanraq ukmanta yarpunkallapa
Wakinkuna rukuyanna
Wakinkuna wanunna

Rumichu kanchik mana nanachikunapaq?
Ĉiqniychu kanchik chiywan kawsanapaq?
Wayrachu kanchik waknulla purinapaq?
Imataq kanchik?


What Are We?

Oh, are we wood?
Oh, are we stone?
So as not to feel
Oh, are we wind?
Oh, are we cold?
So as to be fleeting
Oh, are we hate?
Oh, are we sadness?

Why are we like this in this cosmos?
Why are we here among hatreds?
Why do we live such a horrible life?

When the way allows it
Hate attacks right between the eyes
And I don’t understand why our life is like this
We live molded by hatreds
And I don’t understand how long we’ll be here
While others are consumed by the time of life
Others are dying

Oh, are we stone so as not to feel this terrible pain?
Oh, are we hate so as to live such a miserable life?
Oh, are we wind so as to have
A short and fleeting life?
What are we?

Translated via the Spanish by Arthur Dixon


Ida Vitale in LALT
Number 12

In our twelfth issue, we pay homage to two giants of Latin American letters: Ida Vitale of Uruguay, winner of the 2018 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro of Peru, whose work we celebrate on the ninetieth anniversary of his birth. We also feature poetry, interviews, and stories that range from the Caribbean to the Andes and from Central American to Brazil, exclusive book previews and reflections from translators, and a special section dedicated to the work of Edwin Lucero Rinza, a young poet who recently published the first ever verse collection in Kañaris Quechua.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Ida Vitale

Dossier: Julio Ramón Ribeyro





Brazilian Literature


Indigenous Literature

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

Translation Previews and New Releases

Nota Bene