Márcia Wayna Kambeba: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Márcia Wayna Kambeba Brazilian Poet


Márcia Kambeba, of the Omágua/Kambeba indigenous people in Brazil, is the author of Ay kakyri Tama – Eu moro na cidade (2013). She’s a writer, composer, poet, activist, photographer, performer, and public speaker on indigenous and Amazonian subjects. With a master’s degree in geography, she offers workshops and storytelling throughout Brazil and abroad.

Silent Warrior

In indigenous territory,
Silence is ancient wisdom,
We learn from the elders
To listen, more than talking.

In the silence of my arrow,
I resisted, I was not defeated,
I made silence my weapon
To fight against the enemy.

To be silent is necessary,
To listen with the heart,
The voice of nature,
The sobbing of our earth,

The song of water mother
In the dance with the wind,
Ask that we respect her,
The source of our sustenance.

It is necessary to be silent,
To think about the solution,
To restrain the white man,
Defending our home,
Source of life and beauty,
For us, for the nation!

Translated by Rosaliene Bacchus

The Time of Climate

There was a time, a certain weather
where the butterflies danced
paused on the grass to rest
and hear the song of the wind echo.

There was a time, an ardent weather
when the sun shone more strongly
brightened the path with peace and
the fruit ripened
and no one was harmed.

There was a time, a wide weather,
when the earth in her splendor
nourished the world with happiness
and love
plants sprang up from her
she had respect and value.

There was a time, a brilliant weather
when the moon would transform into Naiá
and the sun would hide so this lady would
in the shadowed night she would call the
enchanted ones
protectors of the forest, river, and sea.

But man, son of the earth,
who was shaped from her,
enslaved to arrogance,
money, a sin,
dried up the river, slashed the earth,
changed everything.

He frightened the animals,
deceived the enchanted ones,
dragged out the grand samaúma tree
and the birds, driven to despair,
searched for a dwelling
but saw only open country.

The sun turned furious,
burned the skin.
The saddened moon
hid in an eclipse.

The water didn’t feel sorry
for the one who’d forgotten her
she stopped running
and, blocked by a hydroelectric dam,
quickly slowed and grew old.

Human intelligence
didn’t cease its attacks,
and burning and razing the forest
even affected the air
breathing is a problem
the smoke won’t stop.

The weather, the climate was altered,
my river changed course,
my land that I’d cultivated dried up in
I even lost my tobacco plants for
the village saw no more fish –
where is the pirabutão?

The cassava wouldn’t lay down roots,
my village became a dried-up sertão
the spring I drank from
was left a memory.

I smell the odor of pollution
poisoning the nation.
To help the climate
we need a certain time and weather
only the ancient elder
can control the machine of destruction.

Translated by Tiffany Higgins