Essays on the Marcia Theophilo's poetry: book "I sing Amazon forest"

Loi Maraini Bellezza

Preface to “I sing the Amazon forest/Eu canto Amazonas”

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By Armando Gnisci

Marcia Theophilo’s poetry comes from elsewhere, from the mythical world of Amazon but through an European language, the Portuguese of Brazil. The poems of Marcia are woven with signs, measures and sounds of Europe, but in their heart it is implied the opposite of those signs: a mythical dream different from the dreaming and the creating myths of the Northern peoples. This dream, to represent its diversity, uses a language as much old, but from another civilization. The signs, the measures, the sounds and theirs opposite create a paradoxical contradicting tie. How does this contradiction express itself through the poetical language?
First of all looks to us as an original and aimed intention to say, which asserts in its will of telling:

“Yanoá has come to tell me a story, her look
was so brimful of herself and of the immensity of her thought. The thought
was running and the rushing river listened cradling her voice
repeating what she learnt from the birds,
from each colour the best, the cheerful idea of life,
day by day seeking for harmony with the cosmos.
Yanoá no difference between thoughts and flavours she could find.”

The narration and myth of the origin which shows directly the origin where it comes from, but doesn’t exist yet: the lessons of the birds, the cheerful idea of life, the non-distinction between thoughts and flavours. This myth is present, despite it is very old as well as the origin of the living beings, and it is comprehensible and may be said through the word of the dream:

“When I start singing
nobody knows what follows
horses, foxes, metals, stones
spells mountains of sand
go to rest, you may need,
to dream tire you out.”

Both, myth and dream, dream and tell in the canto the origin of saying, different to the European saying that to start singing has to be inspired from a supreme power, not earthly but pastiche.
The Amazonian origin of saying is placed in the tropical light made of Ere of blue, vermilion, green”. The original myths of the Mediterranean and Northern peoples are instead placed in the nocturnal condition, after which the lights of the light giving goddess will come.
After being introduced in this way, the contradiction of Márcia’s poetry starts saying. What does it say? It says about the unity of the voice which says the myth and the myth itself. The voice of poetry joins itself through the dream directly with the myth and tells it in the presence: the stories of Yara and Yací and Boto, of the clouds, of the vigour of waters, of the horse without head. Through the dream of the presence, the union of the poetical voice and the myth obtain the basis of a true erotic connection. The poetic text makes, literally, love with the myth. The Portuguese language of Brazil, carnally combine in the dream with the lively narration of the Amazonian mythology, generating an enigmatic celebration that goes beyond and reduce the initial paradoxicality of the reversal of the signs.
This Indio-European celebration happens in Rome.
Marcia Theóphilo sees on Ponte Sisto Tincoã, the great pre-Columbian goddess in a bird shape which appears on the great bound line between the great river and the ocean, merging with an angel of Latin and Michelangelesque stone.
What happens now, with this last contradicting apparition?
It happens that in the heart of Rome it is possible to dream the Amazonian dream of the tie and Marcia masters this next and extraordinary paradox to transform it in a new celebration of love that reminds, even in the great distance of traditions, the attitude through Rome of a poet who also loved and lived in Brazil, Giuseppe Ungaretti:

“The old myths… were not than voices of the dictionary streamed to evoke the ghosts that frequently appeared to me in the city were I was living. Were not figures of rhetoric, but a sort of a getting hold of the myths that were becoming familiar to me.”

Armando Gnisci

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