Severo Sarduy – Cuba

Severo Sarduy, Cuba, Writer
  

Severo Sarduy was born in Camagüey, Cuba, in 1937. He directed, in 1959, the literary pages of 'Diario Libre', in Havana. Lives in Europe since 1960. Writing for radio and collaboration in 'Tel Quel', 'Liberté', the Cuban newspaper 'Gramma'. His books 'Gestes' (1963), 'Writing with Dance' (1976), 'Cobra' (1972), 'Barroco' (1975), among others, have established him as one of the writers of Cuban modernity exile.

Other writings : 'Big Bang' (poesie, 1974), illustrations Ramón Alejandro. 'Big Bang' (Éd. française : Fata Morgana, Montpellier, 1973) ; 'Para la voz' (1977) ; 'Maitreya' (1978), 'Maitreya' (Éd. française : Seuil, Paris, 1980) ; 'Daiquiri' (1980) : 'Colibrí' (1984), (Éd. française : 'Colibri', Seuil, Paris, 1986) ; 'Cocuyo' (roman, 1990) (Éd. française : 'Pour que personne ne sache que j’ai peur', Gallimard, Paris, 1991) ; 'Pájaros de la playa' (1993) (Éd. française : 'Les oiseaux de la plage', Gallimard, Paris, 1994) ; 'La Plage', theatre, directed by Simone Benmussa au Théâtre du Rond-Point (1977).
  
  

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Orishas

[published in RN 09 Caribbean in December 1992,
Original text in Spanish-Cuba
translated by John Taylor]  

 

Oshun (v)

She appears at the edge of the river :

a golden bracelet rattles.

a stag cleaves the unison

in the amber of summer.

Mirrors are for tedium.

The lustre of honey.

Sunflower in a terra cotta pot.

Brazen mulatress,

the sandalwood celebrates her.

– So says Lydia Cabrera.

 

Oya (VII)

Black mount, black night ;

bright lightning and two swords.

May they remain closed

The doors of the mausoleum !

Her footsteps, which hurry,

and the marble, baroque and austere

seal in all mysteries.

Between nine colors,

fakes, wax candles and flowers.

She watches, the deanery of the cemetery.

 

Olokun (IX)

Half-man, half-fish,

seven chains hold him

beyond the sands.

Once I dreams of him ;

his round face

scored with tribal markings

and his empty unfathomable eyes

exorcised the evil spell.

Bitter lips, sixteen

ritual cowrie-shells laid out on display.

 

Yemaya (X)

Mother of the waters, New Moon :

to triumph over misfortune,

I will sacrifice a dove,

a lamb to the austere sea.

Life takes death with it.

A cross of curshed egg-shells

on a yellow forehead :

and you will pluck my last breath.

Against winds and tides

I will go away, to the other bank….

  
   Severo Sarduy
[excerpt from 'Orishas']
    

  

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Orishas

[original text in Spanish-Cuba]  
  
  
  

Ochun (V)

  

Aparece junto al rio :

rumor de pulseras de oro.

Un venado cruza el coro

en el ámbar de estío.

Espejos para el hastio !

De la miel, la brilladera.

Girasol en la sopera.

Mulata de rompe y raja,

el sándalo la agasaja

– Lo dice Lydia Cabrera

  

Oya (VII)

Monte oscuro, noche oscura :

centellas y dos espadas.

Deje sus puerta carradas

La fúnebre arquitectura !

Su paso, que se apresura,

y el mármool barroco y serio,

sellarán todo misterio.

Guarda, tras nueve colores,

guadaña del cementerio.

  

Olukun (IX)

Mitad hombre, mitad pez,

yace con siete cadenas

má allá de las arenas.

En sueño lo vi una vez :

del rostro la redondez

con hondas rayas tribales

y ojos blancos abisale

ahuyenta ese mal severo.

Boca abajo, en el tablero,

dieciséis cauris ritueles.

  

Yemaya (X)

Madre de agua, Luna mueva :

una paloma, un cordero,

ofreceré al mar austero,

para pasar esta prueba.

La vida muerte convella.

Una cruz de cascarilla

sobre la frente amarilla :

firmarás mi último aliento.

Y contra marea y viento

remaré. Hasta la otra orilla...

  
Severo Sarduy
  
  

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