The divine gifts

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by Paolo Lagazzi

Few writings are so deeply mirror writings to the landscapes from where they arise like those Latin-American of our century. Is not a simple metaphor to say that the treasure of these writings is the tropical jungle itself: treasure paradoxical and baroque, sumptuous and sick, made of absurd colours and of an immense putrefaction, of unsustainable softness and deadly ambushes. Rather is the ensemble of metaphors, and of all the figures of the language, to be putted into play without rest, from the voracity of such a creative furnace.
On this background, the Brazilian poet Marcia Theophilo knows how to carve out a space deeply personal, nourished not only by an insatiable passion for the myths of the Amazonian ethnical groups, but also, by a rare brightness of vision.
In the book "Sad Tropics", Lévi-Strauss writes that the Brazilian Forest has, as regards to ours, a superior level of ‘presence’: "like in the exotic sceneries of Jean Jaques Rousseau, its creatures reach the dignity of objects". Theophilo’s verses too, knows how to return us the yearning enigma of the Amazon with plastic and sharp touches, not just for the desire to report the infinite complexity of the living beings, of the things and of the signs to the reassuring stylistic elements of the exotic, but for the necessity to witness all that, in spite of this complexity, knows how to rescue from the peril of the shapeless and of the chaos, knows how to draw, from the inside of the great Metamorphosis itself, mysterious figures of beauty and splendour. Already known in Italy for the poem "I sing the Amazon", Marcia Theophilo has come back on the literary scene with the poem "The Jaguar Children".
The whole poetical world of Marcia Theophilo is founded on a deep feeling, not symbolist but primitive, of the correspondences between the phenomenon and the pulsating heart of the human being:

"when a song shakes
the waters of the river wave;
"When the mind darkens
also the colour loose the sound".

Like a second heart much more secret, drums often beat among the depths of these verses wrinkling them in the rhythms of a message from the unknown, from the end without end of the time. Or else flutes outlines in the wind thin threads of colour: or is the wind itself that collects the traces of the colours, dissolves them and transform them in rhythms, sighs, senses. In this intrigue of analogies and of reflexes, no one value is saved to the feeling of the ego: no one presumption of autonomy, of mind’s distance from the things has much more right of citizenship here, where "thoughts and snakes interweave themselves", where the beauty opens and offers itself in a "laugh of fruit", in "an essence of breeze", in " a thread of smoke hairs".
Iridescent cluster of images pursue in the space of the vision like elastic waves, like falls of magic or divine gifts:

"Horses, nests, birds, butterflies
woods, mountains,
branches, spheres, rivers, streams".

Never the hazy power of the possible has reached so much tactile strength: the density of the most juicy fruits, the fragrance of the pulps most brimful of lights. Nevertheless Marcia Theophilo’s work doesn’t reveal a recovered Eden. Threats, hollows of shade, sandy whirlpools pass through the soul of the forest suspending it to the toll of a fatal restlessness, to the necessity of a deep, immense thrill. In the face of the divine itself, that hundred times veil and unveil, how one doesn’t notice the ambiguous images of the ‘other’ from every name, form every cult, of the kingdom of the phantoms, of the ghosts, of the devils? Each image has, then, a double strength liberating and viscous: each sound is dance, wave, gleam and together hypnotic echo, like the voice of Yara, the goddess of the waters whom "singing doesn’t end" drags the unwises into the unfathomed deep.
A voice much more terrible is the one that, at a certain point, comes to shake the forest in its fundament, to break up the laws and the reasons: the voice of the History that advances, destroying everything when it passes with a noise of saws and axes, "machine that drinks the blood" of life. Nothing seems to resist to the impact of this blind and huge force, but it’s really then that, from tangle of the forest, returns the Jaguar goddess, the most ancient among the goddesses, the one who stays" on the branch much higher than the dream" because everything she sees and knows. To her kids – the jaguar children – will be delegated a decisive task: condemned by the History of the exodus in the cities, only them they will attempt to spread, among the roads of a suffocated and obtuse world, the voices, the songs, the sounds, the spirit of the forest: the breath of the sacred,

"the wind which changes the leave into bird", the amorous tenderness of the waterlily that "every night opens its petals to be kissed from the moon", the slow music of the river, the green that "doesn’t belong to the feelings but to the water, to the flesh."

The dialogues of the birds with the souls or the plants with the sky. Only by this clan of light creatures, whom have been given the power to see what we don’t see, maybe will pour on the Earth, a day of dances and blue fires, "the beginning of a new thought".

Paolo Lagazzi
Gazzetta di Parma 26/10/1997


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