Friday, July 08, 2005

Stolen moments of intimacy between the races...

Marjorie Agosín is a Chilean poet. Her family fled Europe during WWII and emigrated to Chile, where as an adult, she was exiled and fled again to America.

As a woman, a Jew, a European, and a poet, she crossed many frontiers and challenged many barriers to her human experience. She is a passionate advocate for human rights and a steadfast witness of injustice. In her poetry, she records history and unveils the possibility of unity with an understanding of difference. Here is a hauntingly beautiful love poem written during Pinochet's reign of terror in Chile that offers me a deeper understanding of what is to be shared -- and risked -- in moments of connection with those whose skin color and therefore life experience we can never fully know.

(Celeste Kostopolus-Cooperman provided the English translation.)


Over our heads
through the night
the stars descend,
sacred threads of evening.

Through the night
in this desert
of invisible Bibles,
of nomads and incantations,
spread over us
like a book of prayers.

The moon is a sharp and clairvoyant feather
surrounding all obscurity.
Night passes.
Night is
your body that withdraws and
navigates intermittently through sheets of water.
A ruffled pillow
divides our bodies
dreaming the dreams of others
and sometimes those of all.

Suddenly my body turns and surrounds you
like a cascade of raindrops,
like the origin of loving rings.
I encircle your waist,
a dangerous frontier.
Our legs intertwine
through the night,
and that aging body that I see
becomes clear
in my caress.

The bodies decide
there are no frontiers
like men and women
worn out by war.
Your face is no longer disfigured.
It recovers the savage light of love.
I cross your lips and your legs,
the destiny of your sex.

There are no countries between you and me.
There are no foreign spaces.
We choose no languages.
No language
can divide us.
Your friends are already mine.
We smear our mouths like
those who butter bread or
fragments of memory
that splendid and
magnificent bedsheet that
protects us
from the fear of peace.

Now we recognize each other.
I’m not that stranger from another country.
I’m every woman
surrounding the enemy who is now familiar
and you love my old age, my lines,
my children who are yours
and whom you must not kill.

we have visited other
Your dreams are no longer
those of mutilated
I am not the girl from El Salvador
without legs,
nor the Jew with tattoos of terror.
We have demolished war
with a victorious kiss
and in this dark night
we don’t think clearly
immersed in this white dream of peace.

Por la noche
sobre nuestras cabezas
descienden las estrellas,
hilos sagrados de la noche.

Por la noche,
en este desierto
de Biblias invisibles,
de nómadas y conjuros,
las estrellas nos
como un libro de rezos.

La luna es una pluma aguda y clarividente
rodeando toda la oscuridad.
Transcurre la noche.
La noche es
tu cuerpo que se aleja,
navega intermitente por las sábanas de agua.
Una almohada desquiciada
divide nuestros cuerpos
que sueñan el sueño de los otros,
a veces el de todos.

De pronto,
mi cuerpo gira y te rodea
como una cascada de lluvias,
como el principio de los anillos amadores.
Rodeo tu cintura,
una frontera peligrosa.
Nuestras piernas se entrelazan
a través de la noche,
y veo que ese cuerpo envejecido
comienza a aclarar
en mi caricia.

Los cuerpos deciden que
no hay fronteras
como los hombres y mujeres
cansados de la guerra.
To rostro ya no se desfigura.
Recupera la salvaje luz del amor.
Cruzo tu labios y tus piernas,
el destino de tu sexo.

No hay países entre tú y yo.
No hay espacios ajenos.
No escogemos idiomas.
No hay idiomas para
Tus amigos ya son los míos.
Untamos la boca como
quienes untan el pan o los
trozos de l memoria
que son una sabana grandiosa
y magnifica que nos
del temor a la paz.

Y nos reconocemos.
No soy esa extraña de otra patria.
So todas las mujeres
rodeando al enemigo que ahora es un conocido
y tu amas mi vejez, mis estrías,
mis hijos que son los tuyos
y que no debes matar.

Esta noche
hemos visitado otras
Tus sueños ya no
son los de los hombres
Yo no soy la niña del Salvador
sin piernas,
ni la judía con los tatuajes del espanto.
Hemos derribado a la guerra
con un besa victorioso
y en la oscuridad de esta noche
no pensamos claros
sumergidos en el sueño blanco de las paz.


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