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Poetry by Judith Kerman
Recital by Author
'The Voice Finds Its Roots In The Stones' © 2007 DK McDonald
'The Voice Finds Its Roots In The Stones' by DK McDonald

Canto Extraño

¿Cómo ir, cómo hablar
con ésta voz extranjera?
¿cómo cantar?
sobre el ruido de las calles.

How to move forward, to speak,
in this strange voice; to sing
above the noise of the streets.
Cuando mis padres vinieron a nuestras calles,
mi lengua era extraña a sus oidos. Me dan
mi lengua con dolor; no tiene raíces.
Olvidan sus lenguas de niñez.

When my parents came to our streets,
they did not speak my language.
They forgot the languages of childhood.

¿Cómo andar en las calles de piedras
con la gente, empresa y amor,
con los niños hermosos
jugando bajo las mesas del mercado,
con sus ojos negros? Y me siento extranjera,
mi canción me parece
la voz extraña de forastera.

Walking in the stone streets
among the people, commerce and love,
the beautiful children
playing under the tables of the market,
their dark eyes. I feel myself a foreigner.
(it sings to me
through the fog of my incomprehension;
reading it, even a little, feels like a miracle)
The voice of my first Spanish poem,
the voice of a stranger
(wanting to be invisible, a native,
wanting it also in the U.S.,
far from this other America,
so that I said to a friend that I "pass.")

The Spanish burned the Aztec codices.
"¡Ojala!" say the Mexicans - "God willing,"
a fragment of Moorish potsherd.
In their faces,
five hundred years.
In mine, only two generations,
the roots of a burned tongue
I never learned,
the Yiddish of immigrant grandparents,
or Hebrew, a barred iron gate, useable
only for things I didn't want to say.

They gave me my tongue with pain.
(the silence,
if I forget thee, O Jerusalem)
Aqui, no se puede olvidar.
La voz halla su raíz en las piedras.

Here, you cannot forget.

The voice finds its roots in the stones.

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last update: July 2, 2007