Wendy Call, Translator of Poems by Irma Pineda

About Place Journal Volume III Issue I Enlightened Visions June 2014 aboutplacejournal.org Section 4: Sun/Consciousness/Birth
Wendy Call, Translator
Three Poems by Irma Pineda

in Isthmus Zapotec, Spanish and then English

 

Gue’la’ Be’ñe’
Isthmus Zapotec, Spanish, English
Sun
Isthmus Zapotec, Spanish, English
Sea
Isthmus Zapotec, Spanish, English

 

First Poem

This is the eighth poem that appears in Irma Pineda’s first collection of poetry, Ndaani’ Gueela’ / En el Vientre de La Noche (In the Belly of Night), published by Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán (Mexico, 2005). The poems in this collection were written by the poet with the support of a 2001 grant for indigenous writers from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.

 
Gue’la’ Be’ñe’

 
Ruxale luá neza ridi’di’ guiigu’
ribee lú xilase:
Ni guca’ bacheza’ binni huala’ dxi’
neza ra bixuuba’ be’ñe
naca yanna ti neza bidxi.
Ruuna’ ladxidua’ ti nutale nisa guiigu’
xisi guendaruuna’ naxí nga laa
ngué runi ruyuyubica’ ruaa nisadó’
ra cuezadxí xquendaruxhooñe’ nisaca’
ne guineca’ gunaa benda xtiidxa’ be’ñe’
naduxhu’ ne sicarú pe’
ca be’ñe ni bichibi jñaa dxi guca xcuidi
ne gudxite ndaani’ guiigu’ gue’la’ be’ñe’.
 
 
Gue’la’ be’ñe’

Lugar donde abundan los lagartos

Abro las ventanas al cauce de un río
se asoma la nostalgia:
El que fue manantial de los hombres de la tierra
donde desgranaron los lagartos
hoy es un sendero del desierto.
 
Llora mi corazón para alimentar al río
pero saladas son las lágrimas que buscan la boca
  del mar
donde serenar su líquida carrera
y contarle a las sirenas historias de lagartos
fieros y hermosos,
los que asustaron a mi madre niña
quien jugó en el vientre de gue’la’ be’ñe’.
 
 
Gue’la’ Be’ñe’

Where the crocodiles abound

I open the windows to a river’s headwaters
nostalgia leans over the sash:
The spring that once gave life to our people
where the crocodiles’ eggs swam
is today a desert path.
 
My heart cries to feed the river
but only salty tears seek the ocean’s mouth
where it sings on its liquid way
and tells stories to the sirens about fierce
and gorgeous crocodiles,
the ones that scared my mother as a girl
who played in the belly of Gue’la’ Be’ñe’.
 
 

Second Poem

This is the second poem that appears in Irma Pineda’s first collection of poetry, Ndaani’ Gueela’ / En el Vientre de La Noche (In the Belly of the Night).

 
Gudidxa

Gusiga’de’ Carla y Sebastián

Ti manihuiini’ ripapa guriá guidilayú nga Gubidxa
              naduxhu duubi xhiaa
Ti xcuidi nadxi’ña’ riguite guendarucachilú
deche dani ne deche zá
 
              Ti nguiiu nadipa’ nga laa
rusidxaa guidiladi gunaa
              rápanebe laaca xhiiñibe
xhiiñi Gubidxa
ni qui randa ruyadxí guiba’
ti bixhozeca’
runiná xquendanadá lú ca’
 
Rizánandabe ngiiu
              runinábe déchca’ lu ñaa
Dd dxi gulá’ naca’
              ti ndaa guí xtibe
 
Gudidxa ridaa lú binni
laa nga jmá nadipa’ ora tindené beu’
laa nga rugubia’ dxí binni nuu guidxilayú
laa nga rini’ ma siadó’ guie’ ndi’
              laguibani
              laquitené naa
na laca riní’
              ma chaa
                            laguiní’ xcaanda
 
 
El sol

Para Carla y Sebastián

Un ave que vuela alrededor del mundo es el Sol
              de filosas plumas sus alas
Un niño travieso que juega a esconderse detrás
de las nubes y los cerros
 
              Señor todopoderoso
acaricia con tibieza la piel de las mujeres
              tiene hijos con ellas
los hijos del Sol
los que no pueden contemplar de día al cielo
porque su padre
quebranta la fragilidad de sus pupilas
 
Persigue a los hombres
              lastima sus espaldas en el campo
desde el día en que robaron
              una llama de su fuego
 
El Sol inunda los ojos
atrapa la victoria en los combates con la luna
marca el tiempo de los que habitamos esta tierra
nos dice es mañana en flor
              es hora de vivir
              es hora de jugar conmigo
nos dice
              ya me voy
                            ustedes sueñen
 
 
Sun

 

For Carla and Sebastián

Sun is a bird flying around the earth
              on sharp-feathered wings
Mischievous child playing hide and seek
behind mountains and clouds
 
              All powerful father
warmly caresses women’s skin
gives them children
those children of the Sun
who can’t gaze at the sky by day
because their father
shatters their fragile pupils
 
He chases men
              wounds their backs in the fields
since the day that they stole
              a flame from his fire
 
Sun floods eyes
seizes victory in battles with the moon
marks our time living on this earth
tells us dawn is blossoming
              time to live
              time to play with me
tells us
              I’m going now
                            you all dream
 
 

Third Poem

This poem is from Irma Pineda’s third collection of poetry, Xilase qui rié di’ sicasi rié nisa guiigu’ / La Nostalgia no se marcha como el agua de los ríos (Nostalgia Doesn’t Flow Away Like Riverwater), published by Escritores de Lenguas Indígenas (Mexico City, 2007). Many of the poems in this collection were written with the support of a 2005-2006 grant from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.

 
Ti nisado’

 
Ti nisado’ nga ladxiduá’
benda ni que rati caguite rari’
              benda nayeche’ ndaani’ sidi sti’ xilase
 
Riuuba naa qui guinne racá
runiná neza zitu di’ naa
xisi nuu biaani’ ndaani’ nisado’ di’
              bisiidi’ nisado’ di’ naa
                            xi nuu ndaani’ ladxido’ sti binni
              nanna nisado’ di’ guyadxí
                            ndaani’ bezalú
              bisiidi’ nisado’ di’
                            gusigani nisa ni riabantaa ruaa
                            nanna gucueeza nisa ni rigui’ba’
ti qui gannacabe pa nuu, ti qui guihuinni
ti ma nanna yanna
cadi guirá tu nadxii nisado’
 
 
Un mar

 
Un mar es mi corazón
infinitos peces juegan en él
              peces alegría en la sal de la nostalgia
 
Me duele la ausencia
me lastima la distancia
pero hay luz en este mar
              aprendió este mar a sentir
                            el corazón de los otros
              sabe este mar mirar
                            adentro de los ojos
              aprendió este mar
                            a callar sus intensas olas
                            a controlar la marea
para que no se note, para que no se vea
porque sabe ahora
que no todos aman el mar
 
 
Sea

 
My heart is a sea
countless fish play in it
              joyful fish in nostalgia’s salt
 
Absence pains me
distance wounds me
but light shines in this sea
              this sea learned to sense
                            others’ hearts
              this sea knows to look
                            inside eyes
              this sea learned
                            to quiet its powerful waves
                            to control the tide
to go unnoticed, to go unseen
because it now knows
that not everyone loves the sea
 
 
 
Irma Pineda is an author, editor, translator, and educator in Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico. Her sixth book of bilingual Spanish-Isthmus Zapotec poetry was published in October 2013 by Mexico’s Pluralia. She has been Writer in Residence at Chicago’s Casa de Arte Calles y Sueños, the University of Washington’s Whiteley Center, Seattle’s Jack Straw Productions, Canada’s Banff Centre. She is a recent president of the Escritores en Lenguas Indígenas (ELIAC), a national organization of Mexican writers working in indigenous languages, and a faculty member at the National Teachers University in Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
 
Wendy Call is an author, editor, translator, and educator in Seattle. She is co-editor of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide (Penguin, 2007) and author of No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy (Nebraska, 2011), winner of the Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction and an International Latino Book Award. She is a recent Writer in Residence at Cornell College of Iowa, Harborview Medical Center, New College of Florida, and five national parks. She is a faculty member at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
 

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