757. In Celebration of International Mother Language Day…

TANKATAN

Muhé ta fuerte,
no preokupá.
Bala di elastik.
Bent’abou
bula lanta
buska konsuelo
den trabou
i otro soketadanan
igual;
bula lanta
bolbe kanta
bida su kansion,
sigui balia
na su kadans.
Dal laga lembe!
Hisa pushi
tira riba kachó,
kana hari
djent’afó,
pasa den horkan,
sali tánkatan!

Pero nami
un pesa di bogotana
pa seka aw’i wowo
na skondí;
nami un brasa,
un brasa yen di leli
pa dòrna graf
di tur
e speransanan
ku m’a karga un dia,
kaba pèrdè…

===========

HUNKY-DORY

Women are strong,
just skip it all.
Rubber ball
that drops
and bounces back
to find comfort
in daily work
and other such
nonsense;
bounces
back
to sing again
the song of life,
to dance once more
to the rhythm
it prescribes.
Anything goes!
Topsy turvy
upside down
toothy smile
jolly clown
to hell and back
just hunky-dory okay!

But give me, please,
a bale of cotton
to dry the tears
when I’m alone;
give me, please,
an arm,
an armful of lilies
to mark the graves
of all the hopes
I once caressed
and lost…

– Nydia Ecury

A national treasure, performing artist in the Caribbean tradition, and ambassador of Nydia Ecury 1972Dutch-Caribbean literature, Nydia Ecury  (Aruba, 1916 – Curaçao, 2012)  wrote prose, poetry, and children’s stories in Papiamentu, Dutch, and English.

She published six collections of poetry, including Bos di Sanger (Voice of Blood) in 1976 and the bilingual Kantika pa Mama Tera / Song for Mother Earth in 1984 – a rarity for Papiamentu writers.

In the introduction to Kantika pa Mama Tera / Song for Mother Earth (source of ‘Tánkatan’ / ‘Hunky-Dory’), Nydia writes “of late, the poems arrive in pairs, in my native language, Papiamentu, and in English. (…) Perhaps before the need was felt, when, at literary encounters in the Caribbean, linguistic barriers hampered the exchange of ideas and emotions. Yet, the interest and enthusiasm in the region for Papiamentu poetry has always been great. By publishing in both languages, I hope that links may be forged right through the linguistic barriers, to share more fully the rhythm, beauty and richness of our language with English-speaking peoples in the Caribbean, who already share with us history and sentiments.”

Thanks to Nydia and other literary treasures (Elis Juliana, Pierre Lauffer, May Henriquez, etc),

Nos Papiamentu

a pasa den horkan,

sali tánkatan!

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...

2 comments

  1. Que idioma tan agradable! Hay reminiscencias de latín ,de portugués y de español también , me parece…..
    Me encanto’ leer todo el poema y aprender la historia de Nydia Ecury…
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Pingback: 731. Drought in our Nature | 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao

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