Las desaparecidas

Las desaparecidas

Las desaparecidas


for high voice and guitar (poems by Marjorie Agosín)

©2000
Length: 18'

Program Notes

The works of Chilean poet and essayist Marjorie Agosín often deal with the terrible events in Latin America, particularly in her native land, of recent decades.

The title of this group of poems translates rather awkwardly to "The Disappeared Women." Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and his counterparts in other countries, adopted a technique from Nazi Germany: those suspected of anti-government activities were simply kidnapped and killed. The government never acknowledged having taking them into custody, and their families were never officially informed of their fate, nor were they able to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones. This became so commonplace that the word "disappear" took on a completely new grammatical form: it became possible to say "they disappeared her" and "los desaparecidos" (the disappeared ones) became an everyday phrase.

I have chosen five of the original six poems on this topic, taken from Agosín's book, Las zonas del dolor (The Zones of Pain). Her passionate and intimate poems bring these tragedies to life in a way that statistics or polemics cannot.

This song cycle was written at the request of soprano Eileen Moore, a member of the Moore-Better Duo.







I
Soy la desaparecida,
en un país anochecido,
sellado por los
iracundos anaqueles
de los desmemoriados.
¿Aún no me ves?
¿Aún no me oyes
en esos peregrinajes
pos las humareadas
del espanto?
Mírame,
noches, días, mañanas insondables,
cántame
para que nadie me
amenaze
llámame
para recuperar
el nombre,
los sonidos,
la espesura de la piel
nombrándome.No conspires con
el olvido,
derriba al silencio.
Quiero ser
la apaparecida
y entre los laberintos
regresar, volver
nombrarme.
Nómbrame.
I
I am the disappeared woman,
in a country grown dark,
silenced by the
wrathful cubbyholes
of those with no memory.
You still don't see me?
You still don't hear me
in those peregrinations
through the dense smoke
of terror?
Look at me,
nights, days, soundless tomorrows
sing me
so that no one may
threaten me
call me
to give me back
name,
sounds,
a covering of skin
by naming me.Don't conspire with
oblivion,
tear down the silence.
I want to be
the appeared woman
from among the labyrinths
come back, return
name myself.
Call my name.

 







II
Encontrarla,
hallarla,
tenerla
aunque sea su cuerpo
una fábula mutilada,
un equinoccio de
heridas como leyendas.Encontrarla.
Sentir su aliento.
Imaginarla.
Lejos de funerales e
infiernos.Sujetarla
para enterrarla
como Dios manda
con su nombre apegado
a la greda
con flores
para su santo.
II
Find her
uncover her,
hold her
even though her body be
a mutilated fable,
an equinox of
wounds like legends.Find her.
Feel her breath.
Imagine her.
Far from funerals and
infernos.Bind her
to bury her
as God commands
with her name attached
to the clay
with flowers
on her Saint's Day.

 







III
La sueño a orillas del camino,
a orillas de un mar intermitente.
Lleva peidras sin inscripciones
bajo su manta de cielo,
y su pelo coagulado
abandonó la miel de
antiguos presagios.Viene entre sus chales de
sol y sombra,
lleva golondrinas en
sus bolsillos
y migas violetas
como faros,
iluminando
el sendero
de sus antepasados.La sueño entre mis tinieblas
llena de la vida,
los espectros de la mala muerte
revoltean,
como los monstruos, los captores,
pero yo la oigo
y en los umbrales
la abrazo.
III
I dream her by roadsides
by the shores of an intermittent sea.
She carries stones with no inscriptions
beneath her cloak of sky
and her clotted hair
has left behind the sweetness of
ancient omens.She comes wrapped in shawls of
sun and shadow,
carrying swallows in
her pockets
and violet-colored crumbs
like beacons
illuminating
the path
of her ancestors.During my dark hours I dream her
full of life
specters of evil death
are fluttering round her,
like the monsters, the captors,
but I hear her
and on thresholds
I embrace her.

 







IV
Yo no tuve testigos
para mi muerte.
Nadie elaboró sacrilegios y
epitafios.
Nadie se acercó
para una despedida
oscurecida.A mi entierro,
no se pudo asistir
porque el silencio de la incertidumbre
cubrió un cuerpo desvanedico, des-
encontrado
asomándose pérfido entre las neblinas.Las autoridades,
me han desmentido.
No aparezco en los huesudos
murmullos de la morgue,
No existo in los cardexes
nadie me vió alejarme trastocada
de mi país.
Nadie plantó nombres bajo mis plantas.

Soy una extraviada,
una mano fugándose y maldecida.
Soy de lluvia by de granads
y cuando my nombran me
aparezco
porque a mi entierro
nunca fuí.
IV
I had no witnesses
to my death.
Nobody carried out rituals, wrote
epitaphs.
Nobody came near
for a veiled
farewell.No one could come
to my burial
because of the silence of uncertainty
covered a body disappeared, dis-
encountered
rising up treacherous amid the mists.The authorities
have concealed me.
I do not appear among the morgue's
murmuring bones,
I don't exist in the Cardex files
nobody saw me transmuted
leaving my country.
Nobody put numbers on the soles of my
feet.

I am a stray,
a hand fleeing and accursed.
I am made of rain and grenades
and when they call my name
I will appear
because I never went to my
own funeral.

 







V
Madre mía
sé que me llamas
y que tus yemas
cubren esas heridas, abiertas
muertas y resucitadas
una y otra vez.Cuando vendada
me llevan a los
cuartos del
delirio.
Es tu voz
nueva,
iluminada,
que oigo
tras los golpes
desangrados
como los árboles
de un patio de
verdugos.Madre mía
yo duermo entre
tus brazos
y me asusto
ante los puñales
pero
tú me recoges
desde un fondo
lleno de dagas y serpientes.
V
Mother
I know you are calling me
and that your fingertips
are covering those wounds, open
dead and re-opened
over and over again.When I am blindfolded
they carry me to the
rooms of
delirium.
It is your voice,
new,
luminous,
that I hear
after the bloodletting
blows
like trees
in a patio of
assassins.Mother
I sleep in
your arms
and feel frightened
by the knives
but
you gather me up
from the abyss
filled with daggers and serpents.

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