Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Tupamaros (1970)


A window shatters in Montevideo,

Feet run down the street

Past a child huddled in the dark,

A moist shade for a blanket,

A stony mattress for this hungry soul –

No candle light warms those black eyes,

Now frightened by the naked fist

Furious, full of threat, due to that broken window

For a deed not done as of yet.


The father of this child,

Once in the service for restoring law and order,

Left some time ago when he saw

What he was protecting was fetish reason,

Married to the ground, built up against the Uruguay sky

To prevent the stroke of the sun

To shine into the shade where this child huddled,

Its eyes so familiar, the mother long dead,

Twice raped, her womb corroded for eternity.


When he left, he did not know what to do,

Past midnight’s call, a city seemingly at rest,

Though more agonies were heard in this silence

While he walked down these narrow streets

Not caring to rest his tired body –

A job he had no more, but mere conviction

That money, hence survival, could not be earned

Through a contradiction, if it goes against that child.


The streets were still full of crawling bodies

All demanding some bread, since he, the only one upright,

Gave them the impression of being a gentleman

Who is sheltered and nurtured well, who lives in luxury

And is cared for by warm hands of a mistress or a wife.


He saw a familiar sight from his former police rounds,

Though now he saw everything with different eyes –

He stopped to pose some questions,

To their surprise since gentlemen

Usually hurry on when misery throws its odors

At their feet to make them realize

There is more to life than a lonely soul.


The discussions he had then about social problems

Revealed to him a new understanding, more difficult to accept,

For the causes were traced back to those gentlemen,

All of them rich, and at liberty to rape and to exploit

Just for the sake to escape out of their idleness

although others had to bear all the burdens.


What he concluded that night no one really knows

Just that he disappeared for some time,

To ponder what had been uttered

By all those broken lips, the teeth full of gaps,

Leaving shattered hopes like broken glass in the streets.


He saw now more clearly that his child

Lying amidst this urban mess

Was all too distant from the rural lands,

Enshrined in a compost heap made out of cement,

And therefore lacking passion, the smells of nature,

In a crowded shanty town trapping the heat

And increasing the smell while reinforcing the noise,

All while the city housed the dead for eternity.


Could it not be, he asked himself,

While In seclusion, that the cause of all this misery

Is but his own failure to understand

How to partake in social life, so as to create

Off springs, youthful spirits,

Ready to improve this lot once ripe in ideas,

On how to build warm shelters for all,

And provide sufficient food

To be served at tables ready to welcome guests.


But had he not tried, while still serving as policeman,

To create such a simple plan

Whereby he hoped handshakes, a friendly smile

Could permit a child to reap the fruits

Of marriages in the spring, the time

For spirits to remember proud pasts,

The ceremonies of the Incas, while continuing

to the next, greater test?


No feast ever came, the autumn stayed bare;

The only food came from the rubbish heaps

Deposited by the rich living in their boisterous homes,

Monotonous eye sores in secluded paradises

At the fringe of the urban space filled by people

All turned into an agonized mess.


He pondered for only a little while

And then he joined a group of men,

With convictions not far removed from his own,

All recalling another lonely man in their history,

One who had stood up against alcohol and injustice

That brings only filth and destruction to this land.


Tupac Mamor was his name,

The meaning soon in the ears of Europe

Since he would stalk the land in secret

To avenge the murdering of his children,

And the ruin of a once proud culture

So different from a greedy civilization

Making out of acquisitiveness inquisitions

Just for the sake of gold, more land and greater fame.


 Recalling this single man

They decided to use his name,

If only to show that humanity does continue

In different veins, with blood being pumped by two hearts,

Struggling for the Right to exist

Within the urban cells of Montevideo,

The realm for new guerrilla tactics

Bring forces of irrationality and some vicious humor

Out of the past into the present city.


They started to fight like clowns

In order to gain through a reckless humor

The upper hand in a deadly game,

But they believed aside from all set-backs

That people’s souls can be restored

By giving them extra strength, always the case

When seriousness not being in command,

Fearless life a better test, some rest.


Soon the fighting grew like cancer cells,

Revealing urban’s malignant disease,

No cure having been found as of yet

Against extremities lashing out at each other’s wrists

Until no one really knew who they wish

To protect or to exploit in a different way,

For it depends how you stand to religion as conviction.


What can be done for this man fighting for a cause,

This father of the Tupamaros,

Not knowing what will become of his child

Left in that alley to confront now the owner

Coming out with a gun to hunt down

The one who dared to smash some social glass

that separates him from those who are repressed,

Who suffer because no love is willing to intervene

On their behalf, while hatred stalks in still further.


The father doubts the cause, now that he sees

Its own laws, regulating from inside and outside,

As does the still prevailing government in power

With its protected rights, a camouflage for other hands

Reaching down from New York, or the land it represents,

Involving thus more than just one urban city

In this careless race to the gun,

Not caring for the child, in the shade,

The eyes frightened by the gun being raised

To the shoulder so that humanity is about to bleed again.


Hatto Fischer

London 20.11.1970




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