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US Government Shutdown October 2013U.S. Government Shutdown – October 2013
Photo Credit: Weasel Zippers

In my Poetry Corner October 2013, I feature the poem “Maquinomem” by Brazilian poet Helena Kolody (1912-2004). The title of the poem is a combination of the words máquina (machine) and homem (man); hence my English translation, “Machine-Man.”

Translating a poem from Portuguese to English is always a challenge for me. A word can have several meanings. Which one does the poet intend? In some cases, in order to maintain the original rhythm of the poem, I have changed the word order or omitted a word.

As Helena Kolody was born in the State of Paraná, in South Brazil, to Ukrainian immigrants, I have selected a musical presentation by the Barvinok Ukrainian Folklore Orchestra of Curitiba, capital of Paraná.

My Haiku poem “Prisoners” was inspired by Helena Kolody’s reflections on man’s relationship with the machines of his creation. We have made great strides in our technological inventions but our ways of thinking and relating with our fellowman have not evolved at the same pace. At times—like the present state of affairs in the USA—we seem to have retrogressed as human beings.

Where is our compassion for those in need? Where is our concern for the planet that sustains us? Where is our respect for each other? Where is fairness and justice? Where is love?

Where is our humanity?

Does man run the risk of becoming more like the machines he has created?

You can read Helena Kolody’s poem in its original Portuguese and English versions at my Writer’s Website.