Fredy Chicangana / Two poems

Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel, © 2017 / Foto tomada por Festival Internacional Poesía, Medellín, Colombia. //

Fredy Chicangana is an indigenous poet who writes in both Spanish and Quechua. His indigenous name, Wiñay Mallki, means «rooted in time.» A member of the Yanakuna Mitmak Nation in Sur-Oriente del Cauca, Colombia, he received the National University of Colombia «Humanity & the Word» Prize in 1993. In 2008, he received the Nosside de Poesía Global Multilingüe Prize in Italy. His poems have been published in various magazines and journals in Colombia and abroad. His poetry collections include Kentipay Llattantutamanta/El colibrí de la noche desnuda (2008) and Samay Pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa/Espiritu de pájaro en pozos del ensueño (2010). Chicangana is involved in several initiatives to preserve and promote Yanakuna identity and preserve spaces sacred to the Yanakuna. (



These songs to Mother Earth in a major key
are whispers that come from distant forests,
those furtive words that yearn to be a droplet in the human heart.
They’re gentle tones, as if they were telling us:
«We come in silence along the moist paths of life,
the grass of hope greets us between night and its shadows,
our footsteps embrace the earth and the hail sings
amid the tree leaves.
We are the fire of stars come unstuck from the celestial sphere
announcing the new era,
here we are weaving the circle of the yellow butterfly,
sowing water in desert places,
in short, we are bird spirit
in wells of reverie.»



Samay pisccok
Takicay pachamamak jatun rimaypi
chihuihuincay ima hamuy sachamanta
shimicay ttillayay ima maskay suttuycaypi sonccoruna
ahihuihuincay ñutu rimaina:
«Jaku nimapi ñanpura jukuna causaypa
quihuacuna suyanak ñoqa rimay tutapurakuna llanturi
ñukanchiyupi ucllanacay pachata takiruntupay
Ñukanchi ninapay coyllurmanta ima urmay ankas ananpachak
hullilla kcayapacha
caypi muyupi pillpintumantak quellu
tarpuyaku puruncunapi
tukurita nunacay pisccomanta
pponccopi mushcoypa».




They gave me a handful of earth for me to live in.
«Take this, earthworm,» they told me,
«there you’ll plow, there you’ll raise your children,
there you’ll chew your blessed maize.»
Then I took that handful of earth,
I surrounded it with stones so that the water
wouldn’t wash it away from me,
I kept it in the bowl of my hand, I warmed it,
I caressed it and began to work it . . .
Every day I sang to that handful of earth;
then the ant came, the cricket, the bird of night,
the serpent of the outback,
and they wanted to help themselves to that handful of earth.
I removed the fence and gave to each their part.
I remained once more alone
with the bowl of my empty hand;
I then closed my hand, made a fist, and decided to fight
for that which others take from us.



Ñukapi chaskichiy hapttayshuk pachamanta chaypipak causay
Caycca pachak´uikamanta ñukapiñiy:
Chaypi llank´ay, chaypi camay cjullu-huahua,
chaypi cjamuy qan muchhascca sara
Chaypacha pallacuy hapttay chay pachamanta
quinchaykuna rumimanta mana yakuimapak
huaccaychay ppuyñu maki ñukamanta, kcoñichiykuna
huaylluyñukamanta callarinari llank’ayman…
Punchau-punchau takipayman chayta hapttay pachamanta
chaypacha hamuy añankukuna, chillikpay, pisccotutapay
amarucuna ichupampak
munaypay yanapana hapttay chay pachamanta.
Quechuk quinchapay hucnin-cace ñoqaccoy kquitichayaqqe
Ñoka quepapuy yapamanta runalla
ppuyñu makihuan chusak
ñoka huiskcay makikuna, ruraypuyñukuna sinchicay maccanacuy
ima chay huc ñukanchi qquechuk.




FREDY  CHIKANGANA. Su nombre en lengua indígena es Wiñay Mallki/ raíz que permanece en el tiempo. Poeta y oralitor  Quechua, de la Nación Yanakuna Mitmak, del Cauca,  Colombia. Premio de Poesía Universidad Nacional 1992, finalista Premio Poesía Nosside de Poesía Global Multilingüe, Italia, 2008. Ha participado en eventos nacionales e internacionales de poesía en lenguas indígenas y sus poemas han sido traducidos al italiano, francés, inglés, rumano, alemán.  Ha publicado los libros: Kentipay llattantutamanta/ el colibrí de la noche desnuda, año 2008,  Samay Pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa/ Espíritu de pájaro en pozos del ensueño, año 2010, Voces de Abya Yala, 2012. Ha trabajado en el fortalecimiento de identidad Quechua Yanakuna Mitmak y la “oralitura” que comparte con hermanos nativos en el Continente Americano. Su trabajo ha aportado a la recuperación y construcción de espacios sagrados como es la “Yachay Wassi” que significa casa del saber y la palabra en el sur de Colombia. Acaba de ganar el Premio de Poesía Global Multilingüe Nosside, en Italia, esta vez como ganador absoluto 2019.

LAWRENCE SCHIMEL, Born in New York City in 1971, Lawrence Schimel has lived in Madrid since 1999. He writes in both Spanish and English, and has published over 100 titles as author or anthologist, in various genres and for all ages, including the poetry collection Desayuno en la cama; the graphic novel Vacaciones en Ibiza; and many children’s books, including ¡Vamos a ver a papá!, ¿Como se dice?, andVolando cometas. Una barba para dos (Spain, Dos Bigotes) is his first book of fiction for adults written in Spanish. His picture book No hay nada como el orginal (Destino) was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for the White Ravens 2005 and his picture books ¿Lees un libro conmigo?(Panamericana) and Igual que ellos/Just Like Them (Ediciones del Viento) were selected by IBBY for Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities in 2007 and 2013 respectively. His other awards include the Lambda Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, and the Spectrum Award. His writing has been translated into over thirty languages, including Icelandic, Maltese, Estonian, and Turkish. In addition to his own writing, he works as a Spanish-English literary translator. (


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