100 Refutations: Day 8

The Primitive Customs of the Hummingbird [Excerpt]

I

Our First Father, the Absolute,
emerged from the middle of the first darkness.

II

The divine soles of feet,
the small round seat,
he created, in the middle of the first darkness,
in the course of his own evolution.

III

The divine wisdom’s reflection [eyes],
the divine, all-hearing [ears],
the divine palms of the hand with the insignia rod,
the divine palms of the hands with the florid branches [toes, fingers, and nails],
Ñamanduí created them all in the course of his own evolution,
in the middle of the first darkness.

IV

Upon the divine crown, atop the sublime head, over the plumed headdress, flowers were drops of dew.
And between the flowers of that celestially feathered headdress, the first bird—the hummingbird—flittered and fluttered.

V

Meanwhile, our First Father created—in the course of his own evolution—his own divine flesh,
existing amid the first winds;
before having conceived of his future earthly abode,
before having conceived of his future firmament,
his future earth first emerging,
while the hummingbird filled his beak with water;
and alone sustained Ñumanduí with fruits of paradise.

VI

[And] Our Father Ñumanduí, the First, before having created his future paradise,
in the course of his own evolution,
saw no darkness:
though the Sun was not yet made,
he stood illuminated by the reflection of his own heart,
as divinity-encased wisdom
played the part of private sun.

VII

[Then] the true Father Ñumanduí, the First,
existed amid the first winds,
where the owl, pausing to rest, wove the darkness;
[And] turned the night into a nest,

Bios

Guaraní poet

The poem featured here was written by an unknown Guaraní poet.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.