In Memoriam Mario Benedetti

In Memoriam Mario Benedetti



De Uruguayaanse schrijver Mario Benedetti is gisteren op 88-jarige leeftijd overleden. Benedetti schreef in de zestig jaar waarin hij als schrijver actief was, meer dan tachtig dichtbundels, romans, essays en andere werken. Een van zijn bekendste boeken is La Tregua, dat in het Nederlands is vertaald onder de titel Het Uitstel. Benedetti werd geboren op 14 september 1920 in Paso de los Toros in het department Tacuarembó.Tijdens de militaire dictatuur in Uruguay (1973-1985) woonde Benedetti in het buitenland, aanvankelijk Cuba – hij was een aanhanger van het beleid van de communistische leider Fidel Castro – en daarna jaren in Madrid. Zie ook mijn blog van 14 september 2008.




The South Also Exists


With its ritual of steel

its great chimneys

its secret scholars

its siren song

its neon skies

its Christmas sales

its cult of God the Father

and of epaulets

      with its keys

      to the kingdom

      the North is the one

      who orders


but down here, down

hunger at hand

resorts to the bitter fruit

of what others decide

while time passes

and pass the parades

and other things

that the North doesn’t forbid.

      With its hard hope

      the South also exists.


With its preachers

its poison gases

its Chicago school

its owners of the Earth

with its luxurious costume

and its meager frame

its spent defenses

its expenses of defense

      with its epic of invasion

      the North is the one

      who orders.


But down here, down

each in their hideaway

are men and women

who know what to grasp

making the most of the sun

and eclipses

putting useless things aside

and using what is useful.

      With its veteran faith

      the South also exists.


With its French horn

and its Swedish academy

its American sauce

and its English wrenches

with all its missiles

and its encyclopedias

its war of galaxies

and its rich cruelty

      with all its laurels

      the North is the one

      who orders.


But down here, down

near the roots

is where memory

omits no memory

and there are those

who defy death for

and die for

and thus together achieve

what was impossible

      that the whole world

      would know

      that the South,

      that the South also exists






Vertaald door Yoshie Furuhashi






Mario Benedetti (14 september 1920 – 17 mei 2009)