(Pseudónimo de Lucila Godoy, poetisa e escritora chilena. É autora de Rondas de Niños, Ternura, Nubes Blancas e outras obras. Premio Nóbel de Literatura de 1945).
Soneto de la muerte I
Del nicho helado en que los hombres te pusieron,
te bajaré a la tierra humilde y soleada.
Que he de dormirme en ella los hombres no supieron,
y que hemos de soñar sobre la misma almohada.
Te acostaré en la tierra soleada con una
dulcedumbre de madre para el hijo dormido,
y la tierra ha de hacerse suavidades de cuna
al recibir tu cuerpo de niño dolorido,
Luego iré espolvoreando tierra y polvo de rosas,
y en la azulada y leve polvoreda de luna,
los despojos livianos irán quedando presos.
Me alejaré cantando mis venganzas hermosas,
¡porque a ese hondor recóndito la mano de ninguna
bajará a disputarme tu puñado de huesos!
PRIMEIRO SONETO DA MORTE
Desse gelado nicho onde homens te puseram
hei-de tirar-te e pôr-te em terreno soalheiro.
Que nela hei-de dormir os homens não souberam
e havemos de sonhar no mesmo travesseiro.
Hei-de deitar-te então no terreno soalheiro
com a doçura da mãe prò filho adormecido,
e a terra há-de ser suave como um berço inteiro
ao receber-te o corpo de menino ferido.
Depois vou esfarelar a terra, o pó das rosas,
e ao luar, na poalha azulada e futura,
irão ficando presos os leves destroços.
Vou-me afastar cantando vinganças gloriosas,
porque nenhuma outra mão nessa fundura
poderá disputar-me o teu punhado de ossos!
La Oración de la Maestra
¡Senor! Tú que enseñaste, perdona que yo enseñe; que lleve el
nombre de maestra, que Tú llevaste por la Tierra.
Dame el amor único de mi escuela; que ni la quemadura de la
belleza sea capaz de robarle mi ternura de todos los instantes.
Maestro, hazme perdurable el fervor y pasajero el desencanto.
Arranca de mí este impuro deseo de justicia que aún me turba, la
mezquina insinuación de protesta que sube de mí cuando me hieren.
No me duela la incomprensión ni me entristezca el olvido de las
Dame el ser más madre que las madres, para poder amar y defender
como ellas lo que no es carne de mis carnes. Dame que alcance
a hacer de una de mis niñas mi verso perfecto y a dejarte en ella
clavada mi más penetrante melodía, para cuando mis labios
Muéstrame posible tu Evangelio en mi tiempo, para que no renuncie
a la batalla de cada día y de cada hora por él.
Pon en mi escuela democrática el
resplandor que se cernía sobre
tu corro de ninos descalzos.
Hazme fuerte, aun en mi desvalimiento de
mujer, y de mujer pobre;
hazme despreciadora de todo poder que
no sea puro, de toda
presión que no sea la de tu voluntad
ardiente sobre mi vida.
The Teacher's Prayer
Lord, you who taught, forgive me that I teach; forgive me that I
bear the name of teacher, the name you bore on earth.
Grant me such devoted love for my school that not even beauty's
flame will detract from my faithful tenderness.
Master, make my fervor long-lasting and my disillusion brief.
Uproot from me this impure desire for justice that still troubles me,
the petty protest that rises up within me when I am hurt. Let not
the incomprehension of others trouble me,
or the forgetfulness of those I have taught sadden me.
Let me be more maternal than a mother; able to love and defend
with all of a mother's fervor the child that is not flesh of my flesh.
Grant that I may be successful in molding one of my pupils into
a perfect poem, and let me leave within her my deepest-felt melody
that she may sing for you when my lips shall sing no more.
Make me strong in my faith that your Gospel is possible in my
time, so that I do not renounce the daily battle to make it live.
Let your luminous radiance descend upon
my modest school as it
did upon the barefoot children who
Make me strong even in my weakness as a
woman, and particularly
as a poor woman. Make me scorn all
power that is not pure, and
all duress that is not your flaming will
upon my life.
Piececitos de niño,
azulosos de frío,
¡cómo os ven y no os cubren,
por los guijarros todos,
ultrajados de nieves
!El hombre ciego ignora
que por donde pasáis,
una flor de luz viva
que allí donde ponéis
la plantita sangrante,
el nardo nace más
Sed, puesto que marcháis
por los caminos rectos,
heróicos como sois
Piececitos de niño,
dos joyitas sufrientes,
¡cómo pasan sin veros
Pezinhos de criança
azuis de frio, ao léu,
sem ninguém os cobrir
Que pezitos tão feridos
por esses calhaus todos,
maltratados por neves
O homem cego ignora
que por onde passais
uma flor de luz viva
que aí onde puderdes
as plantinhas sangrantes
os nardos nascem mais
Sede, já que avançais
por caminhos tão estreitos,
heróicos como sois
Pezinhos de criança,
como passam sem ver-vos
As traduções para português são
de Fernando Pinto do Amaral e foram tiradas de Gabriela Mistral, Antologia
Poética, Selecção, tradução e apresentação de Fernando Pinto do Amaral,
Teorema, Lisboa, 2002
Hay besos que pronuncian por sí solos
la sentencia de amor condenatoria,
hay besos que se dan con la mirada
hay besos que se dan con la memoria.
Hay besos silenciosos, besos nobles
hay besos enigmáticos, sinceros
hay besos que se dan sólo las almas
hay besos prohibidos, verdaderos.
Hay besos que calcinan y que hieren,
hay besos que arrebatan los sentidos,
hay besos misteriosos que han dejado
mil sueños errantes y perdidos.
Hay besos perfumados, besos tibios
que palpitan en íntimos anhelos,
hay besos que en los labios dejan huellas
como un campo de sol entre dos hielos.
Hay besos que parecen azucenas
por sublimes, ingenuos y por puros,
hay besos traicioneros y cobardes,
hay besos maldecidos y perjuros.
Judas besa a Jesús y deja impresa
en su rostro de Dios, la felonía,
mientras la Magdalena con sus besos
fortifica piadosa su agonía.
Desde entonces en los besos palpita
el amor, la traición y los dolores,
en las bodas humanas se parecen
a la brisa que juega con las flores.
Hay besos que producen desvaríos
de amorosa pasión ardiente y loca,
tú los conoces bien son besos míos
inventados por mí, para tu boca.
Beso de llama que en rastro impreso
llevan los surcos de un amor vedado
besos de tempestad, salvajes besos
que sólo nuestros labios han probado.
¿Te acuerdas del primero...? Indefinible;
cubrió tu faz de cárdenos sonrojos
y en los espasmos de emoción terrible
llenáronse de lágrimas tus ojos.
¿Te acuerdas que una tarde en loco exceso
te vi celoso imaginando agravios?
Te suspendí en mis brazos... vibró un beso
y ¿qué viste después...? Sangre en mis labios.
Yo te enseñé a besar: los besos fríos
son de impasible corazón de roca,
yo te enseñé a besar con besos míos
inventados por mí, para tu boca.
LINK: Biblioteca virtual Miguel de Cervantes
June 4, 2003
'Mother of the Nation,' Poet and Lesbian?
By LARRY ROHTER
SANTIAGO, Chile — Nearly a half-century after Gabriela Mistral's death, her presence can still be felt almost everywhere in Chile. There is probably no town in this country that does not have a street, square or school named for her, the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, and her poems and essays have long been part of the school curriculum.
But "the mother of the nation," as Mistral is often called here because of her poems for and about children, is now the focus of a controversy that is forcing a re-examination of her life and work. The recent publication of her private journals shows that she had a love-hate relationship with Chile, while a biography and a film project argue that part of her ambivalence stemmed from what is described as her lesbianism.
"Mistral is a legend and a myth," Jaime Quezada, the scholar who edited "Blessed Be My Tongue," a 290-page selection from her journals, said in an interview here. "She is part of our national patrimony, and everyone thinks that they know her. But the paradox is that only now are we beginning to have a direct and truthful relationship with her work."
An even greater paradox is that most of Mistral's six books of poetry were published abroad before appearing here, where they received mixed reviews. In the newly issued journals and notebooks, she wonders why "nobody in Chile likes me," in contrast with Pablo Neruda, a younger poet and future Nobel laureate whose work she had championed. She repeatedly expresses exasperation with the conservatism and indifference of Chilean society.
"Chile has no brains or common sense yet, it has no maturity," she wrote in one typical entry. "I pray for it."
Born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga in 1889, Mistral began writing as a child and took her pen name from a French poet when her first collection, "Death Sonnets," was published in 1914. At first she earned a precarious living as a teacher, transferring from one remote rural school to another. Later she became headmistress of a prestigious private girls' school here in the capital.
"I lived in isolation from an illiterate society whose daughters I educated and which disdained me as badly dressed and badly coiffed," she complains in one journal entry.
Mistral left Chile in 1922 and in a sense never returned, even after the awarding of the Nobel in 1945 finally brought her acclaim at home. After working in Mexico in a government educational reform program, she joined the Chilean diplomatic service, spending the rest of her career as a consul in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and the United States, visiting Chile only three times. She died on Long Island in 1957.
Since her death, Mistral's image has been remade and manipulated, especially during the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, which went so far as to put her face on the currency's highest denomination note at that time. In the 1970's and 80's, she was packaged as a symbol of social order and submission to authority, "a uterus birthing children for the motherland" in the memorable phrase of the writer Diamela Eltit.
"After the 1973 coup, Mistral and her religiosity were used against Neruda and his atheism," said Luis Vargas Saavedra, a leading Mistral scholar and a professor of Latin American literature at the Catholic University of Chile. "Any time an official representation of Chilean culture was needed, it was Mistral and not Neruda to whom they turned."
Since the return of democracy in 1990, Mistral and Neruda have enjoyed roughly equal official status here. But to a generation of young Chilean readers she seems a fusty spinster, the antithesis of the eternally hip and contemporary Neruda, whose poems have recently been set to music by pop, rap and heavy metal groups and issued on a best-selling CD called "The Mariner on Land."
Mistral's admirers argue that she remains relegated to that status because even today the official curriculum stresses the poems she wrote for and about children, many with echoes of lullabies or nursery rhymes. Her more complex, dense or disturbing poems are largely left out, as are her political essays, in which she often takes internationalist and feminist positions that were unusual for their time.
"The worst enemy of Gabriela Mistral in Chile has been the Ministry of Education and the teachers' union," Dr. Vargas Saavedra said.
Despite her close identification with motherhood and children, especially those who were indigenous or disenfranchised, Mistral never married or had children. Throughout her life she was trailed by rumors that she was a lesbian, and one passage in the journals reveals her resentment at that.
"About Chile, the less said the better," she wrote. "They've even hung this silly lesbianism on me, which wounds me in a way that I can't even put into words. Have you ever seen so big a falsehood?"
But in "A Queer Mother for the Nation: The State and Gabriela Mistral" (University of Minnesota Press) Licia Fiol-Matta, an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures at Barnard College, argues that "Mistral was a closet lesbian" and that her posthumous "consecration as a celibate, saintly, suffering heterosexual national icon" is at odds with the reality of her life and work.
"Although hard documentation of her sexuality simply does not exist, it is quite possible that Mistral's exile was in part sexual," Dr. Fiol-Matta said. "Certainly, the assumption of the schoolteacher's image resonated with her need for self-protection when she was in Chile."
The appearance of the Fiol-Matta book comes as a Chilean director-screenwriter team based in Mexico have announced plans to make a movie of Mistral's life in which her American secretary is to be portrayed as her lover. "Gabriela Mistral was completely and totally a lesbian and spoke and wrote from that vantage point," the screenwriter, Francisco Casas, a former member of a gay arts collective here, said.
But the project has been heavily criticized in Chile. The government arts agency has turned down a request for financing, and a mayor in Mistral's home area in the Elqui Valley has warned that he will do everything to prevent the filmmakers from shooting there. "We are not going to permit them to attack one of Chile's greatest cultural references," the mayor, Lorenzo Torres, said.
Volodia Teitelboim, the Chilean author of the biography on which the screenplay is partly based, has also complained about the movie, saying he "could find no proof" of Mistral's lesbianism. He described the film as an attempt to "besmirch the memory of a great Chilean and Latin American woman."
When asked about the dispute, Dr. Vargas Saavedra said: "You cannot say that Mistral is a lesbian writer. In all of her work, there is not a single text in which she presents herself as such."
As if to undermine the claims that Mistral was a lesbian, the love letters she exchanged with a married male poet while a young woman are to be published here later this year. But at the same time, the literary detectives are hard at work in their search for new material that can clarify the question of Mistral's sexual orientation and the impact it may have had on her poetry.
"That one reference in the journals was the first and only time I found a reflection on or complaint about this issue of lesbianism," said Dr. Quezada, who is also a director of the Gabriela Mistral Foundation. "But there are a lot of letters still out there."