Roberto Sosa is Honduras’ most famous living poet. This is one of several musical adaptations of his poems by the Honduran classic rock band Rajamadrex on YouTube. It’s a little unclear, but I’m guessing that the video itself was made by the band, or someone under their direction, and the captions were added much more recently by the YouTube poster, who goes by the handle Sanjeringas. Here’s the Spanish text along with my own translation.
Los pobres son muchos
Pero desconociendo sus tesoros
The poor are many:
But unaware of their gifts, they enter
That’s why it’s impossible
I did this translation 14 years ago as part of a chapbook I put together after a six-week visit to the country. I was in Honduras not just as a tourist but to attend my brother Mark’s wedding to a Honduran, my sister-in-law Luz, who is from the same small city as the just-deposed president, Mel Zelaya. The Honduran coup is therefore somewhat personal for me. Since Zelaya was deposed for siding with the poor and alienating large segments of the ruling elite, Sosa’s poem seems — sadly — as relevant as ever.
By way of explanation, the poem begins with this epigraph:
Upon autopsy, the neck stump of the parasitic head was shown to contain fragments of bone and tiny vestiges of a heart and lungs.
Curiously, a lack of Portuguese doesn’t seem much of a barrier to appreciating these fun word-art pieces. Brazilians invented concrete poetry, so it only seems fair to represent them here. The YouTube description says (I think): Audiovisual adaptations of the concrete poems “Cinco” by José Lino Grunewald (1964), “Velocidade” by Ronald Azeredo (1957), “Cidade” by Augusto de Campos (1963), “Pêndulo” by E.M. de Melo e Castro (1961/62), and “O Organismo” by Décio Pignatari (1960). Director: Christian Caselli.
Poem by Seamus Heaney
Video from the BBC, according to the YouTube poster:
A montage of archive clips of Seamus Heaney “Digging”. From BBC NI’s “Seamus Heaney: A life in Pictures” broadcast 15/04/09.