Let US Pray Feature




Cristian Mocanu, RO


Free Verse

The Second Cry of Ipiranga


O Lord, do not let me be the Robinson
Of these palms, nor of the down-to-earth
Poplars of home. Don’t let me be the lighthouse shedding beams
But occupied by mere interns. I want to be an oasis,
Just don’t allow the sands to stifle me.
Lord, you know how I thirst to death
Here, as the sources whisper. You know how I beg for or steal
The centavo of a glance, next to the treasure
The garimpeiros[1] never dared to dream of
Because no dream encompasses it. You know how I struggle for any dream,
For any smile. You know, Lord, how I rejoice
For a postponement. You know I am but a leaf blown by the wind.
So hold me in Your hand. Or even turn me into a compass
Showing the true North, but squeeze me between Your fingers.
In the night which has no noises
For someone like me, I feel it:
Dependence of You or death, these are the options
Of the immigrant inside me, settling everywhere,
Yet always-as is fitting-going back home...

This prayerful poem was written (originally in Romanian) in 1997 as I was interpreting in Brazil and staying in Ipiranga (now a neighborhood of the City of São Paulo), renowned for the fact that Brazil’s independence was proclaimed there with the famous “Cry of Ipiranga” (Independence or Death!). I was struggling with unrequited love, homesickness, fear and the general feeling of uncertainty as to where my life was going. Then, one evening, I wrote this prayer. The manuscript waslong lost (I thought, forever) but I recently found it during the repairs to my house. I translated it to English and reworked it; I now submit it to Sketchbook’s Let Us Pray section.

~Cristian Mocanu


[1] In Brazilian history: any Europeans who came to Brazil looking for riches (like gold, rubber etc.) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Recently, the romanticized image they had (e.g. in schoolbooks) was amended, by mentioning the atrocities they committed against the native Brazilians, the Church etc. (CM)









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