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On the Road to the Batuque Temple

They came down the roads, streets and crossways opened by Bará after the offering of the rooster, the corn or the four-hoofed goat.

They came down the roads heeding the call of a drum that beats inside their chests: lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

They came down the roads (magnetic skin) attracted by the ancestral magnet.

They came (severed stems) to nourish themselves on the roots.

No caminho da casa-de-nação

Vinham pelos caminhos, ruas e encruzilhadas abertos por Bará ante a oferenda do galo, do milho ou do cabrito quatro-pé.

Vinham pelos caminhos atendendo ao chamado de um tambor que bate dentro de seus próprios peitos: tuc-tuc-tuc.

Vinham pelos caminhos —pele magnética— atraídos ao ímã ancestral.

Vinham —caules decepados— nutrir-se nas raízes. [End Page 93]

Welcome, Xapanã!

Times of so much fierce sickness, and here he comes, keeper of smallpox, of the broom— here comes Xapanã. Welcome, Xapanã: receive all our reverence, all our respect and greetings. Watch over your people, your dark priests, your color. Just look around you: it’s an invasion of the sacred ground of ilê. It’s disguised, big market, temple money sign. So accept our sincere piety, plea. Save your people, change the course of that current of illness. Spare your Yoruba people, the jeje and others. Let no one be hurt by your fury, Xapanã. You are one of us, keep our race robust. [End Page 94]

Eh Xapanã!

Tempo de tanta doença braba e lá vem ele, o da varíola, o da vassoura —vem Xapanã. Eh Xapanã: todas as nossas reverências, todo o respeito e saudação. Olha teu povo e os teus escuros sacerdotes, tua cor. Olha em redor e vê: é invasão do chão sagrado do ilê. Tem o disfarce, mercado esperto, templo cifrão. Então aceita nosso singelo preito, pleito. Poupa tua gente, vira pra lá essa corrente de mazelas. Livra teu povo iorubá, o jeje e outros que há. Ninguém se fira com tua ira, Xapanã. Tu és um nosso, mantém a raça sã. [End Page 95]

Freshwater

Cloudy, bad water doesn’t reflect anything well.

Clean water clarifies cascade revenue, waterfall and transparent thread of rain. Good water flows and, clear or muddy, bathes and fertilizes.

Sun of gold, golden flower, decorative fish. Freshwater—Oxum’s precious mirror.

Black beauty is reflected best in living water.

Água doce

Água turva ruim não reflete nada bem.

Água limpa deixa clara renda de cascata, cachoeira e transparente o fio da chuva. Água boa flui e límpida ou barrenta banha e fertiliza.

Sol de ouro, flor dourada, peixes (adereços). Água doce—espelho precioso da Oxum.

Em água viva beleza negra se reflete bem.

Oliveira Silveira

Oliveira Silveira is from Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. He has published almost a dozen books of poetry, the first of which was Germinou. His most recent collection, in collaboration with artist Pedro Homero, is Orixás: pinturas e poesias. He lives and teaches in Porto Alegre. Some of his work was published in Callaloo, Vol. 18, No. 4.

Footnotes

Reprinted with permission of the author.

Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Launched on MUSE
1997-02-01
Open Access
No
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