Fra Origin of the Species,
Oversatt av Daniela Gioseffi
You talk into your cell phone
and talk and talk
laughing into your cell phone–
never knowing how it was made,
much less how it works,
but what does that matter?
The trouble is you don’t know
just as I didn’t
that many people die in the Congo—
thousands upon thousands!
for your cellphone.
They die in the Congo
in the Congolese mountains is coltan
(not just gold and diamonds)
but coltan used in cell phone condensers.
To control the mineral, multinational corporations
wage an unending war
5 million dead in 15 years.
Corporations don’t want it to be known
that the Congo is a country of immense wealth
with poverty-stricken people
80% of the world’s coltan reserves are in the Congo.
The coltan has been there
for three thousand million years.
Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Sony
buy the coltan, the Pentagon too,
The New York Times corporation, too,
They don’t want it to be known
and they don’t want the war to stop
in order to continue grabbing the coltan.
Children of 7 to 10 years extract the coltan
because their tiny bodies
fit into the tiny holes
for 25 cents a day and loads of children die
due to the coltan powder
or from hammering the rock
that collapses on top of them
The New York Times, too,
doesn’t want it to be known
and that’s why this organized crime
this organized crime of the multinationals.
The spirit of the soul identifies
truth and justice and love
and the truth
the importance of the truth
that will set us free
and there is this truth about coltan,
coltan inside your cell phone
on which we talk and talk
and laugh into our cell phones.*
* «Coltan (short for columbite–tantalite and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic ore from which the elements niobium (formerly «columbium») and tantalum are extracted. The niobium-dominant mineral in coltan is columbite, and the tantalum-dominant mineral is tantalite. Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture tantalum capacitors, used in consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Coltan mining has been cited as helping to finance serious conflict, for example in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.» See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan
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Ernesto Cardenal was bon in 1925 in Granada, Nicaragua. Revolutionary activist, disciple of Thomas Merton, Roman Catholic priest, founder of the contemplative commune of Our Lade of Solentiname, ambassador for the Sandinistas, Minister od Culture in post-Somoza Nicaragua, and co-founderr of the international cultural center House of Three Worlds, Cardenal, on his eightieth birthday in 2005, was given the nation’s highest cultural honor, the Order of Ruben Dario, by President Enrique Bolanos. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Pluriverse is a masterpiece (New Directions <www.ndpublishing.com/>) of new and selected poems with an introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A profoundly worldly poet of humane purpose Cardenal is among the greats of 20th Century Latin American poetry. His early poems denounce the senseless violence of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua. The poems in Salmos (The Psalms of Struggle and Liberation) represent Cardenal’s rewriting of the biblical psalms of David and condemn modern-day evils. In Oración por Marilyn Monroe y otros poemas (Marilyn Monroe, and Other Poems), his earlier prophetic tone is linked to contemporary events. A recent collection, 2011, is titled TheOrigin of Species Texas Tech University Press, <www,ttupress.org/> and “Cell Phone” can be found therein with other stunny poems of superb craft and vital conscience. Ernesto Cardenal is a highly respected poet like Neruda of world class status, as much for his poetry as for his humanitarain stance and deeds. Cardenal is the sort of poet needed in these threatening times of dominance of Earth’s bounty by multinational corporations whose driving force is mere profit, not the good of Earth, her peoples, her animals or her sustaning and necessary resources for life.
Translation: Copyright © 2013 by Daniela Gioseffi. All rights, including electronic, reserved by the translator.» Cell Phone» in the original Spanish (C) 2011 Ernesto Cardenal, from Origian of Species (Texas Tech University, 2011). All rights reserved. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author.