Poem Urutaú (mother of the moon) from the book "I sing Amazon Forest" by M. Theophilo

A breeze brushes the face of Urutáu
the birds sing in the trees
by day and by night,
Urutáu sees them, listens to them
picks the fruits, has to return to the village.
Must go back to his kin.
But what is stopping him?
Eight or ten little birds blue in colour
are cradled in the branches of a tree.
A choir of ruffled feathers
of half-closed beaks.
The chirping grows.
The dance of the Tangarás all around
The palms, the embirugú,
the ficus, the tururí,
its thin wood
from which the shaman Urutáu's mask is carved
make him fly far, up to the sky
Thoughts flow in the wind
in the silent dawn
Flying, head held high
in the immense forest.
And moves above the trees
above the igrapés
the igarapós
the still planes
Hears a roar: the pororoca
where the big river meets the sea.
Yara calls: Uyara, Ayara, Boiagú
the water mother gives strength to his flight
The green grows, tormented the leaves.
His head painted white with tabatinga
and his legs with red urucú
Abandons his human soul:
Urutáu is a bird
his wings pulsate, quiver
Sings the night through till dawn
when the beginning of the day gladdens. Then in a valley,
in between the mountains, listens to a torrent.
Does not come down, stays up high
fly, Urutáu fly
Don't be afraid of severing
your wings against the peaks
Breathe the scent of the air.
Keep wearing : necklaces of shells
mollusks and bells
of his human identity.
From the village they call him:
«his enemies have feet
and don't reach him
have hands
and don't seize him
arrows and lances will break
before reaching his body»
When Urutáu passes, the earth seems to open:
his thought is a seed which roots
and weaves flowers, sweet chantings
nature wraps herself in silence
the birds become still
a hot wind blows on the banks,
the clouds approach
branches bend
a gigantic flute calls
under the earth.
Urutáu calls his friends the fruits
goiaba, cajá, manga, mangaba
muricí, pitanga, jenipapo
pitomba, jaboticaba, jatobá.
From the top of an enormous tree
Urutáu sees the forest for the last time.
New scents impregnate the air
the mucura steals the fire
The battle with the wind intensifies the anxiety
From the top of the tree Urutáu calls to the village:
«Come, come and see»
nobody listens, no one answers his call
The bird crosses regions of green
thin deserts, again the green
again the desert
the waters are yellow fires, clouds and smoke together
the bulldozers invade
advance, lights dazzle him
fierce thoughts pierce him
From the city rising refuse touch his wings
leaves, old letters
flowers of aluminum and paper.
Night falls, Urutáu
chooses his new ground
no longer eternal, he will live day by day.
Urutáu, dispersed bird
your wood is amongst the skyscrapers
between the cement walls your nest


Márcia Theóphilo 1986
English version by Hania Kochansky -2000


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