poem Catuetê Curupirapoem Iurupari

Poem "Yara" from the book "Catuetê Curupira" by Marcia Theophilo

-«Don't go near the river
when the sun sets
don't go near the river
because Yara is there inviting you
with green hair the colour of miraquitas».
The gold of the river bathed them with light
-«Be careful my children - the old Indian used to say -
she draws you to the tryst with her singing and her magic
her singing that never ends
and her eyes and her hair
are a part of her singing.
Be careful my children, if Yara calls you,
because Yara is fire inside water,
she is the moon,
she is a song which never ends,
be careful of Yara when she calls you by name
they are abyssal
invocations for which one is never prepared
be careful of Yara when she calls you by name
the rhythm of her singing induces waves
which change the air
bring storms from unknown places,
from unknown seas,
do not go near the river
when the sun sets
Guanumbí, listen carefully
I am old, so old
that already the moons
of my age can not be counted.»
«But the gods said:
«You will have a grandchild as beautiful as a jaguar
and his bow and arrow will vibrate
with the speed and effect of lightening
the tribes will call him 'son of the fire and of the sun:
But all his energy will wane
when he sees Yara
do not leave him when he reaches adolescence,
near the deep waters of the river-sea.»
The birds cease singing
and Yara rises to the surface of the water:
fascinated Guanambí looks deeply
at this vision.
-«Be careful, my children, do not go near the river-sea
do not go near the river when the sun sets
it is Yara who invites you.»
And Guanumbí, fascinated, continues to look at the vision
beholds the figure which appears
Yara's hair reaches to the bedrock of the waters
and there takes root
Yací tries to help Guanumbí:
-«Guanumbí, come back to me, it is Yara
who invites you, Guanumbí».
Guanumbí's arms surrender,
as light as the wind,
Yara's hair, now vermilion
now deep green,
blending with all the colours
cloud hair in the water calling
wavy and undulating like her singing
two gleaming drops her eyes expand.
Guanumbí feels the last heat of the sun inside
and feels the chill of the water's depth: Yara.
His body was a leaf
falling softly in the arms of Yara
dazzled he plunges into the abyssal
vision of Yara.
Never Guanumbí
never will you know who Yara is:
Her hair green from the sea-weed
and her dark body, made of shadows,
illume when the sun sets.
Guanumbí loved Yací
her affection was his protection
and they went assured thinking that
their love was stronger than Yara
and forgot what the old indian had said
-«I fear nothing near you, Yací»
with hands clasped and absorbed
in the magic of her loving eyes
dares Yara and the prophesy.
The light appears and disappears below the water
the scent of the fruit is more intense when night comes
the animals begin to fall silent
and a singing emerges from the waters.
-«Be careful when Yara calls you by name
it is abyssal»
-who said this was an old indian
so old
that already the moons of her age
could not be counted.

Márcia Theóphilo, 1979
English version by Hania Kochansky, 2000