THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
THE HEIGHTS OF MACCHU PICCHU
My husband recently returned from hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu. My first introduction to this "Lost City" was through Pablo Neruda's poem, a portion of which is below. For the past several days he has been telling me about his trek over this amazing road build centuries ago by the Inca before the brutal Spanish invasion of their homeland. He's also been recovering from a virus he picked up while there. I've let my laureate blog lapse, therefore.
I can't speak for this translation. I couldn't find the source. The translation I've had for years is by Nathaniel Tarn. If you go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1066501 you will find more about Macchu Picchu and Neruda.
(Portion of Inca Trail)
Canto XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu
Arise to birth with me, my brother. Give me your hand out of the depths sown by your sorrows. You will not return from these stone fastnesses. You will not emerge from subterranean time. Your rasping voice will not come back, nor your pierced eyes rise from their sockets.
Look at me from the depths of the earth, tiller of fields, weaver, reticent shepherd, groom of totemic guanacos, mason high on your treacherous scaffolding, iceman of Andean tears, jeweler with crushed fingers, farmer anxious among his seedlings, potter wasted among his clays-- bring to the cup of this new life your ancient buried sorrows. Show me your blood and your furrow; say to me: here I was scourged because a gem was dull or because the earth failed to give up in time its tithe of corn or stone. Point out to me the rock on which you stumbled, the wood they used to crucify your body. Strike the old flints to kindle ancient lamps, light up the whips glued to your wounds throughout the centuries and light the axes gleaming with your blood.
I come to speak for your dead mouths.
Throughout the earth let dead lips congregate, out of the depths spin this long night to me as if I rode at anchor here with you.
And tell me everything, tell chain by chain, and link by link, and step by step; sharpen the knives you kept hidden away, thrust them into my breast, into my hands, like a torrent of sunbursts, an Amazon of buried jaguars, and leave me cry: hours, days and years, blind ages, stellar centuries.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.