Thursday 21 January 2010

The Mistress Bookshelf: Gabriela Mistral (1889 - 1957), Nobel Prize of Literature

For me, Gabriela Mistral is a road in the borough of Penha, where I was born, in Sao Paulo, Brasil. I might have, at some point when I was very young, heard that she was a writer. But I do not remember so.

Today, I am hungry for music, and poetry. And I found by chance this lady's life and work on the internet.

I found it to be, like most Latin American poetry (Mistral was from Chile), of a passion and strength beyond the polished and carefully selected words of European or British poets.

Even if you read this poem in English (as it is here) you shall 'feel' the bright red and hot texture of the language.

Like a punch I would not mind taking it to my face once in awhile.


The Stranger (La Extranjera)

She speaks in her way of her savage seas

With unknown algae and unknown sands;

She prays to a formless, weightless God,

Aged, as if dying.

In our garden now so strange,

She has planted cactus and alien grass.

The desert zephyr fills her with its breath

And she has loved with a fierce, white passion

She never speaks of, for if she were to tell

It would be like the face of unknown stars.

Among us she may live for eighty years,

Yet always as if newly come,

Speaking a tongue that plants and whines

Only by tiny creatures understood.

And she will die here in our midst

One night of utmost suffering,

With only her fate as a pillow,

And death, silent and strange.

poem source:

The first ever bakery in Penha, Gabriela Mistral Avenue, Sao Paulo. (A Primeira Padaria da Penha)

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.