Three Poems from Nancy Morejon’s “Mutismos”
Translated by Connor L. Simons
A circle. A spirit. A mirror.
From that torturous seat,
you come in pursuit of me.
What do you search for
under my black figure
that hides itself,
even though it would like to hold itself up?
There is no hope. There is no pain.
I am without myself. I fly against you,
as you carry away the unspeakable
towards your noise.
My Wolves and Your Birds
You, could you suddenly feel
what we allowed?
Would you know to interpret what you are?
(it suits you to say goodbye to your conscience
my wolves and your birds
in a starving and voracious impulse…)
A dry glass of water boils
and forms a tepid lake
to your eyes
equal to your eyes that freeze
and form a white iceberg
like the sea at twilight.
If the subterranean gatebridge closes
we would stay buried
here on the surface.
The doors on this side close themselves
and they all smell like the wet grass
of crying and of work.
But if someone has placed their pleading
inside of each door
they destroy the seas
the lands the species the classifications
the sources of a subterranean rumor.
If the door closes…
we would all stay buried.
About the Author:
Nancy Morejon was born and raised in a district of old Havana to working-class parents, Angélica Hernández Domínguez and Felipe Morejón Noyola. Her father is of African heritage and her mother of Chinese, European and African extraction.
She graduated with honours at the University of Havana, having studied Caribbean and French Literature, and she is fluent in French and English. She later taught French. She is a well-regarded translator of French and English into Spanish, particularly Caribbean writers, including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire, René Depestre. Her own poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Portuguese, Gallego, Russian, Macedonian, and others. She is as of 2013 director of Revista Union, journal of Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (the Union of Writers and Artists; UNEAC); in 2008 she was elected president of the writer’s section of UNEAC.
She has produced a number of journalistic, critical, and dramatic works. One of the most notable is her book-length treatments of poet Nicolás Guillén. In 1982 she was awarded the Cuban “Premio de la crítica” (Critic’s Prize) for Piedra Pulida, and in 2001 won Cuba’s National Prize for Literature, awarded for the first time to a black woman. This national prize for literature was created in 1983; Nicolás Guillén was the first to receive it. She also won the Golden Wreath of the Struga poetry evenings for 2006. She has toured extensively in the United States and in other countries; her work has been translated into over ten languages, including English, Swedish and German.
She has lectured at universities throughout the country and has served as teacher at Wellesley College and the University of Missouri-Columbia, which, in 1995, conducted a two-day symposium on her work and published the papers in a special issue of the Afro-Hispanic Review. Howard University Press at Washington D.C. published in 1999 a collection of critical essays on her work: Singular Like A Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejon, compiled and prefaced by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Ph.D. An ant collection of her poems entitled Richard trajo su flauta y otros argumentos (Richard brought his flute), edited by Mario Benedetti, Visor Books, was published in Madrid during the Spring of 2005. (Source:Wikipedia)
Connor Simons is a poet and translator who lives in the Pacific Northwest. His poetry has appeared in The Santa Clara Review and Manastash Literary Journal. He has also participated in readings at the Havana International Poetry Festival.