“Chile Stadium”, Víctor Jara’s last poem (translated by Pete Seeger)


Otro mural Víctor Jara (Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez; San Ignacio, 28 de Septiembre de 1932-Santiago de Chile, 16 de Septiembre de 1973), Chilean musician, songwriter and theater director. Son of peasants, he became in the great referent of the New Chilean song and in a standard of the revolutionary and solidary international song. Víctor’s songs talks about the Chilean workers and peasants unfair way of life, about the revolution and about love. He colaborated with others great Chilean songwriters and groups as the Parras (children and relatives of Violeta Parra) or Quilapayún. He supported  the campaign of Salvador Allende for president. During bloody Pinochet’s coup-d’etat, he was arested, tortured and killed, only for sing songs of hope and justice. Some of his records: Canto libre –Free song- (1970), El derecho de vivir en paz –The right of living in peace- (1971), La Población –The population- (1972) and many others.

This is Víctor’s last poem, writen during his arest in the Chile Stadium (where years before he won a prize) and a little moment before he was killed. He gave it to a companion, who could get it off one he was released. The poem has been sung by Isabel and Ángel Parra, and an amazing recitated version by Pete Seeger in the concert with Arlo Guthrie. I offer you Pete’s translation, but first mine, because Pete didin’t translated the entire poem.

(Víctor Jara in Wikipedia)

Estadio de Chile

Somos cinco mil
en esta pequeña parte de la ciudad.
Somos cinco mil.
¿Cuántos seremos en total
en las ciudades y en todo el país?
Solo aquí,
diez mil manos siembran
y hacen andar las fábricas.
¡Cuánta humanidad
con hambre, frío, pánico, dolor,
presión moral, terror y locura!
Seis de los nuestros se perdieron
en el espacio de las estrellas.
Un muerto, un golpeado como jamás creí
se podría golpear a un ser humano.
Los otros cuatro quisieron quitarse todos los temores,
uno saltó al vacío,
otro golpeándose la cabeza contra el muro,
pero todos con la mirada fija de la muerte.
¡Qué espanto causa el rostro del fascismo!
Llevan a cabo sus planes con precisión artera
Sin importarles nada.
La sangre para ellos son medallas.
La matanza es acto de heroísmo
¿Es este el mundo que creaste, dios mío?
¿Para esto tus siete días de asombro y trabajo?
En estas cuatro murallas solo existe un número
que no progresa,
que lentamente querrá más muerte.
Pero de pronto me golpea la conciencia
y veo esta marea sin latido,
pero con el pulso de las máquinas
y los militares mostrando su rostro de matrona
llena de dulzura.
¿Y México, Cuba y el mundo?
¡Que griten esta ignominia!
Somos diez mil manos menos
que no producen.
¿Cuántos somos en toda la Patria?
La sangre del compañero Presidente
golpea más fuerte que bombas y metrallas
Así golpeará nuestro puño nuevamente
¡Canto que mal me sales
cuando tengo que cantar espanto!
Espanto como el que vivo
como el que muero, espanto.
De verme entre tanto y tantos
momentos del infinito
en que el silencio y el grito
son las metas de este canto.
Lo que veo nunca vi,
lo que he sentido y que siento
hará brotar el momento…

Chile Stadium

We are five thousand/ in this little part of the city./ We are five thousand./ How many more shall we be/ in the cities and in the whole country?/ Just here,/ ten thousand hands seeds/ and make grown the factories./ How much humanity/ with hunger, cold, panic, pain,/ moral presion, terror and madness!/ Six of us get lost/ in the space of the stars./ One dead, one beaten like I never knew/ a human being could be beaten./ The other four wanted to deliver out all their fears,/ one jumped into the void,/ other beating his head against the wall,/ but all of the death’s stare./ What horror causes the fascism’s face!/ They carry on their plannings with wily precision/ caring about nothing./ Blood is medals for them,/ slaughter is an act of heroism./ Is this the world you created, my God?/ For this were your seven days of amaze and work?/ Inside this four walls only exists a number/ that doesn’t progress,/ that slowly shall want more death./ But suddenly my conscience is beating/ and I see this beatless tide,/ but with the pulse of machines/ and the militaries showing their faces like midwifes/ full of sweetness./ And Mexico, Cuba and the world?/ May they shout this ignominy!/ We are ten thousand hands less/ that don’t produce./ How many are we in the whole Fatherland?/ The blood of companion president/ beats stronger than bombs and shrapnel./ So our fist again shall beat./ Song, how badly you come out from me/ when I must to sing about terror!/ A terror like that I am living,/ like that in what I’m dying,/ terror./ Of seeing me among so many and so many/ moments of the infinite/ in which the silence and the scream/ are the goal of this song./ What I’m seeing I’ve never saw,/ what I’ve felt and what I’m feeling/ will make sprout the moment…

Chile Stadium (Pete Seeger’s version)

We are five thousand/ here in this little part of the city./ We are five thousand,/ how many more shall we be/ in the whole cities,/ in the whole country?/ Ten thousand hands/ which can seed the fields,/ make grown the factories./ How much humanity/ with hunger now, cold, panic, pain and terror!/ Six of us are now lost in space/ among the stars./ One dead, one beaten like I never knew/ a human being could be beaten./ The other four wanted to die/ want to deliver of the terror,/ beating their heads against the wall./ The militaries carry out their plannings with precision,/ the blood is like medals for them,/ slaughter is the act for his heroism./ Is this the world you created, oh my God,/ in seven days?/  The blood of compañero presidente,/ is stronger than bombs./ Oh you, song/ you come out so badly/ when I must to sing/ the terror what I see./ I never saw, but I’ve felt what I feel./ ¡Ay canto, que mal me sales!

Víctor Jara

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ave on 19 abril, 2009 at 14:25

    Le cortaron sus dedos y su lengua, y hasta la muerte gritó REVOLUCIÓN!!!!

  2. Posted by evin on 19 abril, 2009 at 17:34

    sometimes words are not enough…

  3. Posted by megapureta on 19 abril, 2009 at 22:31

    ¡Compañero Victor Jara, ahora y siempre, PRESENTE!

  4. Posted by Kubilay on 2 febrero, 2010 at 11:40

    Venceremos ! Companero Victor Jara

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