Make Me Drunk with Your Kisses

Make me drunk with your kisses, my love
kiss my lips
untangle my hair with your silken fingers
explore with your hands the sacred song of the vanilla flower [1]
untie the makich [2]anklet
remove the shakap[3] belt from my hips
naked, I await you

Live in my home
take me with the tenderness of your words
burn my fears
with the fire of your skin

Trace my path
with the oars of your raft
come to the shores of the beach,
my harbour of sand

Make me drunk with your kisses
with the chicha[4]
fermented in saliva
with the wisdom of Arutam [5]

Don't go, my love
I want to wake
in your arms like cotton
to dive
into your depths
to fall asleep
in the jewel of your eyes

Translation notes

Nataly Kelly  writes:
[1] The sekut is a variety of vanilla that grows in the Amazon. The anent in this caseis the sacred song released by a plant through its fragrance for a loved one. As María Clara explains, Anentfor the Shuar woman is like a love song, a ballad, or what my mother used to sing at sunset while waiting for my father, to prevent him from going far away or abandoning the home, to remind him that she was his true love, for that she used the sekut, which is a little plant that grows deep within the jungle. It's like a tiny palm with white flowers and an exquisite perfume that fills you with passion and reaches your being... that's what my dear grandmother in heaven used to say. And they say, that only when a loved one who has passed away loves you deeply, does the plant release its fragrance. In years past, the Shuar women placed it between their breasts to smell nice. Now, every time I am in the jungle and I smell that perfume, my mother is there by my side.
[2] The makich is a ceremonial anklet used for healing as well as dancing and warding away evil spirits. The anklet is made of seeds and makes a rattling sound.
[3] The shakap is worn around the waist, much like a coin belt worn by belly dancers, but made of seeds, and makes a similar jangly sound. It has a similar ceremonial and healing purpose as the makich.
[4] In the Shuar culture, the chicha masticada is prepared only by women, and is a fermented maize drink made by chewing and spitting. Here, María Clara specifies chicha masticada to differentiate it from other types of chicha which are not made using the traditional method.

Sarah Maguire writes: Unsurprisingly, translating this poem took a great deal of detailed discussion, much of it in relalation to how we should render the Shuar terms and customs mentioned in this beautiful poem.

We decided to use 'vanilla flower' for sekut because, as Nataly's note, above, explains, this plant is a member of the vanilla family.

We debated a great deal about the chicha masticata, the specially fermented spirit that, for the Shuar, is invested with the wisdom of Arutam

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