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  • -«Don’t go near the river
    when the sun sets
    don’t go near the river
    because Yara is there inviting you
    with green hair the colour of miraquitas».
    The gold of the river bathed them with light
    -«Be careful my children – the old Indian used to say –
    she draws you to the tryst with her singing and her magic
    her singing that never ends
    and her eyes and her hair
    are a part of her singing.
    Be careful my children, if Yara calls you,
    because Yara is fire inside water,
    she is the moon,
    she is a song which never ends,
    be careful of Yara when she calls you by name
    they are abyssal
    invocations for which one is never prepared
    be careful of Yara when she calls you by name
    the rhythm of her singing induces waves
    which change the air
    bring storms from unknown places,
    from unknown seas,
    do not go near the river
    when the sun sets
    Guanumbí, listen carefully
    I am old, so old
    that already the moons
    of my age can not be counted.»
    «But the gods said:
    «You will have a grandchild as beautiful as a jaguar
    and his bow and arrow will vibrate
    with the speed and effect of lightening
    the tribes will call him ‘son of the fire and of the sun:
    But all his energy will wane
    when he sees Yara
    do not leave him when he reaches adolescence,
    near the deep waters of the river-sea.»
    The birds cease singing
    and Yara rises to the surface of the water:
    fascinated Guanambí looks deeply
    at this vision.
    -«Be careful, my children, do not go near the river-sea
    do not go near the river when the sun sets
    it is Yara who invites you.»
    And Guanumbí, fascinated, continues to look at the vision
    beholds the figure which appears
    Yara’s hair reaches to the bedrock of the waters
    and there takes root
    Yací tries to help Guanumbí:
    -«Guanumbí, come back to me, it is Yara
    who invites you, Guanumbí».
    Guanumbí’s arms surrender,
    as light as the wind,
    Yara’s hair, now vermilion
    now deep green,
    blending with all the colours
    cloud hair in the water calling
    wavy and undulating like her singing
    two gleaming drops her eyes expand.
    Guanumbí feels the last heat of the sun inside
    and feels the chill of the water’s depth: Yara.
    His body was a leaf
    falling softly in the arms of Yara
    dazzled he plunges into the abyssal
    vision of Yara.
    Never Guanumbí
    never will you know who Yara is:
    Her hair green from the sea-weed
    and her dark body, made of shadows,
    illume when the sun sets.
    Guanumbí loved Yací
    her affection was his protection
    and they went assured thinking that
    their love was stronger than Yara
    and forgot what the old indian had said
    -«I fear nothing near you, Yací»
    with hands clasped and absorbed
    in the magic of her loving eyes
    dares Yara and the prophesy.
    The light appears and disappears below the water
    the scent of the fruit is more intense when night comes
    the animals begin to fall silent
    and a singing emerges from the waters.
    -«Be careful when Yara calls you by name
    it is abyssal»
    -who said this was an old indian
    so old
    that already the moons of her age
    could not be counted.

    Márcia Theóphilo, 1979

    English version by Hania Kochansky, 2000