My Tribe by Alberto Blanco: A Way to Belong


In celebration of National Poetry Month, a translation from the great Mexican poet Alberto Blanco. In a few short sentences, Blanco excludes exclusion.

My Tribe

From lake to lake,
from forest to forest:
“Which is my tribe?”
—I wonder—
“What is my place?”

 Perhaps I belong to the tribe
of those who have no tribe;
or to the tribe of black sheep;
or to a tribe whose ancestors come from the future:
a tribe about to . . . arrive!

But if I absolutely must choose
—I tell myself—
let it be a large tribe;
let it be a mighty tribe;
a tribe in which no one
is left outside the tribe,
in which everyone—
everything and always—
has a sacred place.
I do not mean a human tribe.
I do not mean a planetary tribe.
I do not even mean a universal tribe.

I am speaking of a tribe that cannot be spoken of.

A tribe that has existed always,
yet whose existence has not been proven.

A tribe that has never existed,
but whose existence
we can even now make real.

(Thanks to my daughter Audrey for help in this translation.)
More poems and translations available at my blog,

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