The Caesarean of Three Continents

by Corsino Fortes

Before
the body was coin and the soul Kapital
Before the light
on the remembered sea
And the erosion of the face by stone and wind
We lived inside the summer of the earth
The seed that had no spring
We were the exclamation
Of the ‘di' in distance

We gave
Legs to the hills and arms to the mountains
Gave a face and a meaning
To the dunes of the high seas
That breathe out
the thighs
the breasts
the sex of the Sahel

I remember you! In Africa your womb
Enquiring of yourself
about the isthmus + the
prow of our destiny
When poles, peninsulas and tidal waves
Tore and tore in the vortex of life! In the fracture of earth
The Caesarean of the three continents

We became navels of stone
revolving
Between the skin and bone of the seasons
We became island and island
beyond the wind
in the evasive archipelago

Thus it was pronounced
Before & after the 1st day + the
Erosion of the chronicle
In the mouth of the Written Stone

The literal translation of this poem was made by Daniel Hahn

The final translated version of the poem is by Sean O'Brien

Notes

'Rotcha Scribida': These words are not Portuguese, but Kriolu. They refer to a rock on the São Nicolau island which is inscribed with a message in a written language that has not been deciphered. It points to the presence of other peoples on the island long before the Portuguese arrived. The markings are now very hard to make out, erosion having taken their toll on them.

Comments

  1. June 7th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Patrick Freeman says:

    Very nice bit of work there Sean, the only line that doesn't quite ring true for me is the one with the poles and peninsulas. However I should add that I don't translate from Portuguese - so what would I know!

    A powerfully evocative poem.