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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1117
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Oh! The words forming a cloak
The purity of their sounds
goes running over my bamboo sheath.
Oh! The words drumming a lake
in a southern African country.
So many interwoven words I don't need to see
but to hear as their juice is squeezed from them all at once
into the ocean depths
until a dolphin lifts its triumphal tail
in the center of living coral
and a mermaid's song goes pushing its pink nose
all the way to the tip of a moon,
the moon that the words are weaving
with a silver thread
and the burning of seaweed adrift as background,
a silver thread that grows gigantic,
like in the music of my neighbor José Claro Fumero
and is transformed into a precious warm cloak for my wellbeing.
--Translated by Steven F. White
Nancy Morejón, Cuban scholar and poet, is Director of Caribbean Studies at Cuba's premier cultural studies institute, Casa de las Americas. She is the author of Mutismos (1962), Amor, cíudad atribuída (1964), Richard trajo se flauta (1967), Parajes de una época (1979), Poemas (1980), Elogio de la danza (1982), Octubre imprescindible (1983), and Cuarderno de Granada (1984), in addition to critical works focusing particularly on Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén (1974) and translations of poems by Paul Eluard, Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire.
Steven F. White's study and translations of contemporary Afro-Brazilian poetry have appeared in Callaloo 18.4, 19.1, and 20.1. He is the co-author with Edimilson de Almeida Pereira of "Brazil: Analysis of the Interactions and Conflicts in a Multicultural Society" in Cultural Cartographies: Comparative Studies in Race, Ethnicity and Nationhood. He also translated the subtitles for the feature-length film Cruz e Sousa: O Poeta do Desterro (1999) by Brazilian director Sylvio Back. White's CD Transversions (2001) includes his translations set to music of poetry by Latin American and Spanish writers. His most recent volume of poetry is Fire that Engenders Fire/Fuego que engendra fuego. He teaches at St. Lawrence University.