The Amazon cantoes

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By Fabio Lucas

When one reads Marcia Theophilo’s poetry, so deeply rooted in the mythology of Amazon forest, the first impulse is to relate myths and logos in the measure in which the craft and the construction of the poetry, introduce the civilizing ratio in the representation of the magic world. In this era of full progress of the capitalistic process in the human relationships, it’s important to remember that, also from the natural societies it is the artist who comes before the worker. In other words, till the origins, art has demonstrated to be, for the human being, much important than the work. When one reads "I sing the Amazon Forest" (Rome, Edizioni dell’Elefante, 1992) and "The Jaguar children" (Rome, Edizioni De Luca, 1995) both bilingual, what immediately comes into mind is the draft of a strong cosmology behind the poetries.
It is easy that this happens when one assumes the Amazon as a thematic source of the literary expression. Euclides Cunha already said that, in front of the splendour of that nature, one could have the impression that the last page of the genesis was not yet written.
From the reading of Marcia Theophilo’s poetries one feels the life splat up in each and every part of the nature. This is what express the poetry number VII of the "Jaguar Children".

"the child jaguar
transforms in all things
that live in the water
transforms in all things
that live on the earth
there is no difference between animals and plants
what lives in the forest is inside the goddess"

In the poetries it’s recognizable the pantheism that inspire it and the reversibility among human beings and goddesses, whilst the poetry XLVI says:

"I’m the parrot, I’m the araracanga
me the red ararea, I’m the crane,
the blue curica
with precious plaited plumes
liane: pendent
bangles, cloaks."

The poetry XLVIII propose:

"To dance masked gives power
the mask of tender bark
of tururì wood
sticks to the face
and transform each kid
in goddess."

The poet recognize the importance of the symbol, common to the natural societies. She talks about the magic world, shows a steady animistic vision, like in the last verses of the poetry "The Uruà’s players":

"Tree, I know your life,
your rustles the voice of your branches,
and you look for my sight to give me company"

Intense is also the orgiastic cult where the excess are sang, like in the poetry "The last Orgy"

"we are moving forward, nothing can stop us,
the pagan gods are amongst us,
here our greatest story is fulfilled
always and only lived in the excess."

When the nature is invaded and dominated by the culture, the logical thought efface the magic thought. The nostalgia of the time of innocence stirs up and the feeling of Loss invades the essential space. This is what we can see in the verses of the poetry "The rain has discoloured them"

"Inside all of us
the first perspectives
to remind the childhood
we’ll start from that time
where life was possible
the afternoons crossing the woods
that no more we scour."

Hegel would say that the poetry of the heart got lost in the clash with the prose of social relationships.
The world called from the poetical creation of Marcia Theophilo doesn’t freeze in a cold statue of the past. Her poetry deals with the themes of the metamorphosis and the change. It regards the life and its modifications. There is no, in its way of dealing with the world, the prevail of the normative on the explicative. Its essential aim is to trace, along the strong Amazonian mythology, the paths of the poetical expression and the fundaments of a cause that we can define ecological passion as its altruistic sense.
Marcia Theophilo’s poetries resemble to recited prayers. But are different form these ones in the same measure in which the myths, for her, are not anymore a superstition or the object of a belief, and show the dimension of the existing totality of the human being. The myths become the component of an aesthetical vision of the universe. Meaning aesthetical where its main principle is the beauty. As we already know, the poet doesn’t create nor establish the epic world. What he does is to ensure the identification of it, because it has a previous existence that consecrate it. The myths presented by Marcia Theophilo are old knowledges of the Brazilian people. Yara, Saci Perere, Cobra Grande, the Boto, the headless Mule, the Moon and all the minor divinities tide to them, provide in the consciousness of our people, of an immemorial time.
What Maqustircia Theophilo has done is to infuse the breath of poetry in these myths and express them in a significant order, giving them truth and dramatic. The text that comes out is not originated from a pure archaeological rage, but it is the effort to enliven through the poetical theme a received inheritance. The theme of Marcia Theophilo comes to be the fiction of the myths and their bringing up to date. Here her imprints accidentally ideological and political, because mentioning the defence and the protection of the environment against the forces of the global capitalism that everything destroys in the name of profit, brutalizing the pleasures of the consumption.
The case of Marcia Theophilo is the one of an artist who creates starting from the collective faith. She creates without destroying, leaving untouched al the values received in inheritance. Here, then, the invocation to "Iurupari", the goddess of the dream. Is to notice that, to pay honour to the myths and to give them an aesthetical form, Marcia Theophilo sometimes casts them on an existential level. Therefore two positions: the protest against the destroying action of the human being to the nature and the nearly elegiac moan in front of the threat of loosing consecrated values. One more time one senses that the illusion is an allusion.
Among the poetries, it is possible to characterize an elegy based on the human contingency, a song of impotence ("The voices you hear" – I sing the Amazon – page 208):
"The voices you hear the rhythm of the drums that plays far is because I cannot call the dawn". Briefly, in Marcia Theophilo’s works, we have a vision of the world, a cosmic vision, that doesn’t belong to her, but it is from her caught and interpreted. The collective phenomenon, therefore, is characterized from a musical force, from a contained verbalism, from a poetical expression of a rare representative effect. Marcia Theophilo, indeed, donates to us a lyrical piece of the Amazonian epic source, of which she has become a privileged interpreter. Here the creative sensibility of the poet, her details of the universal values, exhibit themselves. A social contract nicely drawn, a poetry pierced telluric forces.
We illustrate her inspiration with "The feast of the new moon"

"Don’t you hear the music’s that spread above?
Don't you hear the music that expands up high?
Everyone is singing and dancing without stopping
They are invoking the new moon.
Four days of dance with the body painted in red vermilion.

"For the moon's feast the dancers go to the house of the Masks, dress up as animals and as trunks of tree. Then, in the village squares, Everyone sings and recount hatreds and loves."

by Fabio Lucas
Literary critical
President of UBE (Brazilian Writers Association)

 

 

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