Tierra del Fuego by Lâle Müldür

tierra del fuego

Between sea shells, among seaweed.

Those dark objects of the underwater world.

Is your image.

In the Siamese cats I see in my dreams.


In the cracks in ODARA walls.

In the place where distinctive claw marks you left

on me begin and end.  YOUR FACE IS THERE.


That hut where we slept to the song

of the ‘Poinciana’ tree and sound of waves.

On those stretching sands where our shadows

mixed together.  Those diamond points that light disintegrates forever.

POINTS OF ANNIHILATION.  Your eyes.  Violet purple

or cyclamen you said.

Sing ‘Canta Mais’ one more time…


A GREY PUMA had hidden behind a tree.

You used to hide your heart like a black animal.

Poisonous as an anaconda and lonely

as a solitarius, you were.  The moment, one day

when I saw me in the mirror and not another

‘everything will end’ you said.



as you set off for Estrada do Sol.

I could hear your voice despite all that distance.

Then, then, I lost your voice, the shapes your face would take.

Mine reminding me of things trifling, trivial.

For example, that day I glimpsed you from behind.

A sentence you left unfinished.  ‘The river the Pampero

passengers were forced to cross…’


Then, why, whenever I have to remember you

do foolish things come to my mind?

My telling you of long, long jaguars,

armadillos, mangoes, grapes from India.

How stunned I was, later, to learn that

FISH sleep with eyes open.


Your thinking: ‘How easy it is to influence this girl

with silly, senseless things’. Or maybe,

my thinking you thought that.

My thinking you thought that is once again

my thinking’s projection.

Thoughts of my thoughts… memories of my memories…


Those days I always wanted to go to Tierra del Fuego.  In the pickup

Gato Barbieri, Carlos Jobim, Baden Powell were constantly on ‘Play’.

Antonio, Yo le Canto a la Luna, Falando de Amor, Saudades de Bahia…

The Girl from Ipanema, Bolivia… For days, without leaving my room

I would think of the tropics.

Tropicus… Mar del Tropicus…

They thought I thought of the Tropics – they misunderstood.

Or was this a reaction to sleepy, sterile cultures.

Longing for a primitive sound.

The search, once more, for the mystery.

Maybe it was an escape.  A far, far escape.

If only they knew all the things I want to escape.



Something really is happening here.  A mystical thing.

As sublime and strange as the underwater world.

Watching the rain from the window on a grey day.

Lucid dragonflies slowly pull away, bringing me

to you in topaz temples.

You smile just like a sun god.

Do you know how many years I’m on my own,

in confusion.

You see, I just couldn’t loosen my grip.

I walked by your side, yours alone

on a topaz day by the waterside.

At night you would pull a cover over me.

We wouldn’t speak for considerable time.

I’d lose myself in your eyes.

This state of not speaking was a perceptible thing.

Like the silence of a river running

through sea and darkness.


Do you know, something’s happening here.  A strange thing.

Like annihilation in cloudy water

White butterflies are flying in my eyes

and they’re bringing me to myself slowly,

in rooms of white…


My forgetting was a different you. I was dying Tropico.

Dying with the white romance of your forgetting.

I have nothing left to say anymore.

But then neither did I want to forget.

Because there are wounds that stay beautiful, too.

There are lemon scented, rainy women…

Women you’ll never forget… lemon scented…

despite it all… there are women that stay as rain…


I’m fine now.  How are you?


Poet:  Lâle Müldür, 1984

Translated by: C.Stockford, 2016 (first draft)

Photo: Tierra del Fuego National Park, grayline.com








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