Saturday, June 1, 2013

Two poems by Humberto Ak'abal

Humberto Ak'abal (Guatamala, b. 1952)


Blackbirds, buzzards, and doves

land on cathedrals and palaces
just as they do
on rocks, trees, and fences...

and they shit on them
with the complete freedom
of one who knows that god and justice
belong to the soul.

early hours

In the high hours of the night
stars get naked
and bathe in the rivers.

Owls desire them,
the little feathers on their heads
stand up.
"Freedom" and "early hours" by Humberto Ak'abal  are from 
The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, edited by Ilan Stavans. This bilingual anthology features eighty-four authors from sixteen different countries writing in Spanish, Portuguese, Mapuche, Nahuatl, Quechua, Mazatec, Zapotec, Ladino, and Spanglish. The poems are rendered into English by translators including Elizabeth Bishop, Galway Kinnell, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, Mark Strand, and Richard Wilbur.

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