photo: Gloria Chvatal
Fernando Rendón was born in Medellín, Antioquia (Colombia), in 1951. He gained his first experiences writing poetry and having it published in journals as a teenager. His debut work “Contrahistoria” (1986), a visionary idea of the future in complete opposition to the realities of apocalyptic excess in his country, was published in the 1980s. He has published another poetry books: “Bajo otros soles” (1989), “Canción en los Campos de Marte” (1992), “Los motivos del salmón” (1998), “La cuestión radiante” (2005), and “La Rama Roja (2010), among others. Actually he is general coordinator of World Poetry Movement (WPM)
In 1982, he founded the poetry magazine Prometeo, the Latin American poetry journal has issued 93 numbers to date. In 1991 he founded the annual International Poetry Festival of Medellin. It regularly attracts crowds of over 160,000 and has become the biggest event of its kind in the world. So far around 1.100 writers from 160 countries all five continents have participated.
The Foundation Right Livelihood Award with its headquarters in Stockholm has officially announced at September 28, 2006, that a jury formed by ten international personalities has decided to grant the 2006 Alternative Nobel Prize to the International Poetry Festival of Medellín, “in recognition of its courage and hope in times of despair”, among 73 candidates of 40 nations, activists for truth, peace and social justice.
His poetry has been translated into several different languages, including French, German, Italian, Croatian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Portuguese, between others.
I inhabit a zone of lightning and revelations. The oracle still speaks. I, for my part, do not listen to it. I don’t follow its admonitions.
I refused to be initiated. I never repeated aloud what I heard from the storm’s mouth. I fought against the angel. Because they chained the human spirit to the abyss, I spurned religions. Because of the devastating carnages which mercilessly broke down the naked certainty of life, I stood on guard against the nature of states. Because I saw thousands fall, I knew the pact of human lovelessness was temporarily winning.
Undoubtedly it is the time of the end, something as formidable as its coming is proclaimed: the sinking of the continents.
I suffer the pressure of the shadows forged by human imagination in the fit of a skyless age. I know I will be invisible. And although not long ago lightning unleashed its white-rooted wrath, filling my log cabin with dense energies, I will not cease to disregard the oracle’s advice, for I will still love men who suffer and peoples who resist, I will hear the sweet voices of stones and trees calling us to return, the secret language of first-day birds for whom the states and the gods have been deaf for centuries.
When did we begin our bloody march from the Apocalypse of Shadow of Man, among the cries of the warriors, under a panic sky that mortally wounded all our hopes and desires.
When did we renounce ourselves to throw our lot on the brother’s back, fleeing to the margins of delirium where the cities of hell can no longer be seen.
When did we know that the doors of spring would open and not open for us alone, that we would punctually miss Shadow of Man, whom we had loved since the beginning, when there was no death in the meadows in bloom and the bogs had not yet issued from the human mind.
Again, then, to return, to undo in the heart the knot of our sweet wounded country, the nothingness of our lost dream of a life shared on waterline.
The happy shadows of the macaws, sheltered in shadow in the treetops, chatter above the racket of the apes’ shadows. The shadow of the foliage dances above the shadow of the jaguar. A violent sun is the salamander’s only shelter. Shadows of slow clouds over crouching shadows, stalking shadows over fearful shadows. A man’s shadow eludes another man’s shadow.
The arriving man’s sea of shadows swoops down on the shadow of the man who was. The always sleepless, the astonished one ululates. It is night over the brook of light, which flows into the pupil of Shadow of Man, joining shadow to brightness.
What use is his shadow in the desert to man? A tree’s shadow weighs more than a man’s. In the desert, the shadow of the sunstruck knows that paradise is a real shade.
Stone, talisman that chose the princes, bone of presence and beginning, I recognize your sacred spirit.
Our forebears dug in the stone of charms, entered the stone house of spells, where invisible life speaks.
Prehistoric sundial, the shadow circles the stone, which listens to the heartbeats of man.
Amphion’s lyre roused the floating stones of Thebes. Voices sprouting from the stone travel along the ear’s labyrinth.
Descended from the sun stone and flooded in shadow, man no longer listens to the singing stone.
Lapidary, they reveal secret transformations of the solids, new emanations of the dawn’s pulse, of the heart of stone once inhabited by lightning, before a shoreless water emerged under the floating light, forging a web of flowers and animals, to make a homeland out of the forest.
All poems on this post: © Fernando Rendón
Published with the permission of Fernando Rendón