a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

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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