Hi lovely Earthlings!
|Nuraghe Losa, Sardinia|
Our series on religion is coming to a close. But not before we briefly look at an echo of Native American wisdom across the world. Often we think of Western culture as predatory. In reality there are many simultaneous cultural traditions in the numerous regions called West and they don't always get along. The sense of sacredness of the Earth, the notion that it belongs to itself, comes across very strong in this short poem yours truly learned from the ex-mother-in-law when she was married in Sardina. This Mediterranean island, she learned, was host to an ancient civilization whose communitarian values organized life around a main stone building the group shared, the Nuraghe.
Listen to what the poem says:
|Nuraghe Prisciona, Sardinia|
Fattas a s'afferra afferra
Si su chelu fit in terra
L'aiant serradu puru »
The first line refers to agricultural land that's enclosed by walls.
The second line explains that these walls were made "the grub-street way." They were built in a hurry and without consideration for the common usage that had been customary of the land, what deep ecologists call "the commons."
The third line refers to the sky or heavens, which in Italian and Sardinian are the same word: "cielo," or "chelu." It compares the Earth to the sky, which cannot be fenced. And refers to the predatory ways of those who appropriate the commons by saying that, if at all possible, they would fence out the "heavens" or sky as well.
|Central Building, Nuraghe Torralba|
So the poem's force comes from the way it connects the earth with sacred space: the "cielo, chelu" where people in Catholic cultures believe the sacred is located.
The affinity with Chief Seattle is that here too the Earth, the land, is sacralized again by the invective against those who keep privatizing it, appropriating it. "Should the land not deserve the same reverence the sky gets?" the poet seems to ask. "Why is it that we've come to believe we can own it?" "Does this sense of ownership not violate the Earth's sovereignty over itself?"
The Italian version echoes this wisdom:
|Su Nuraxi, Barumini|
Fatte all'arraffa arraffa
Se il cielo fosse stato in terra
Avrebbero chiuso pure quello »
The poem is attributed to one Melchiorre Murenu.
For those well versed in Italian or interested in another translation of Chief Seattle's Lament, here goes the Italian Lamento. It's in verse translation and yours truly brings it to you this way.
This post brings the series to an end. We are so happy you followed it. Thank you! Stay tuned for what comes next.
Did you enjoy the series? Let us know! Yours truly appreciates your attention. The comments box is open.
Come back! And stay tuned for more wonders.
Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia and the New Politics of Love and many other booksUniversity of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Professor of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
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