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Confessions at Dawn

Confessions at Dawn

The poems—letters—whispers that make up this volume are traversed by multiple meanings that give a turn to the sadness of abandonment

[Ramina Herrera, born in Luya, Amazonas, Peru, in 1979, is a Business Administrator by profession. Graduated from the National University of Trujillo, Entrepreneur, the more she feels Poet by vocation. She is author of four books. Her poetry book “Memories the unborn’ was published on line by the magazine “Voices” of Spain. In 2007 she published the poetry book “Night Loneliness”. Her third book “Moon Woman” was published last year. Confessions at Dawn’ is her fourth poetry book recently published. All the books are bilingual – Spanish and English. Sindh Courier reproduces here the Prologue the book “Confessions at Dawn”]  

Back to the root

The author of this book, Ramina Herrera, whose name we can phonetically associate with the vegetal: “Ramina, rama, ramita”, presents us with a set of poems that bring the subtlety of the wind, the sound of the trees as they sway, the abandonment, the reencounter with her femininity.

‘Confessions to the wind’¸ a book that from its title announces the intimate: they are words that we can recite in a low voice, in the silence of a Saturday afternoon. As I read it, I can’t help thinking that each of these poems constitutes a brief letter: there is a ‘you’ that is constantly alluded to. As if the lyrical I had the imperious need to say to the ear, in the song of the birds, perhaps drawing like the veins of a leaf that which springs from the bottom of a vegetable heart, one that recognizes itself in the arboreal.

At first glance, one might think that ‘Confesiones al Alba’ is a book of love, or more precisely, a book of lovelessness. This is one of the fundamental themes addressed by the writer. However, it is not only about that, but about the reconstruction of a landscape, of a lineage, of a return to the roots.

Author with her book

The poems—letters—whispers that make up this volume are traversed by multiple meanings that give a turn to the sadness of abandonment: this abandonment connects the lyrical subject with the root.

Quenas, zampoñas —wind instruments typical of the ancestral cultures that populated Peru— make the lyrical I sound, which in these poems intones a ceremonial chant, a prayer to the deities of the original inhabitants of the Altiplano lands. We sense that it is to them that these questions, propitiated by that enveloping sound, are addressed:

Looking for Answers 

And I am still looking for answers,

Where is

The sound of the panpipes

The drums

That is the very heart

That beats and gives life

In every flash of lightning!


Where the aroma of coffee!

The smell of petricor and wet stones!


Where your name

That was engraved

On stone in my memory!

The panpipes and drums resound in an enveloping echo, a musical poem? And that poem is the creator of lightning: the magic word that creates a reality that summons it before our eyes, with its radiance. All these questions are nothing but the longing to return to where? To the root, not only to the root of the writer, with its smell of coffee and petricor —a beautiful word in itself that alludes to the wonderful smell of rain wetting the earth—, but even to a more primitive root: a name engraved on stone.

There, in love, it is no coincidence to find the author’s link with the culture to which she belongs: that millenary culture that engraved on stone, traced its prayers to Father River, and to Father Sun:

Father Sun 

Father Sun,

One meter away from me,

Within reach of my eyes

The size of my hands

Immense in your fullness

Small in your mirror

But your warmth ignites

Each one of my bones!

Father Sun is the most important divinity for the Inca Empire, the founder of their civilization, Inti, held in the hands of this “lyrical subject”. In his hands the “king of the heavens” on which he sustains the creation of the universe.

What is sought in holding the sun in one’s hands? Is it his protection? His warmth, His light! Something immense that protects from abandonment, something so unnamable that it does not fit in a sign: “lord of the universe”. And yet it is in a sign, and it overflows it: its semantic potentialities are so immense that it is as if we ourselves, its readers, feel its warmth. In the poem-song “Vuelos Ancestrales” (Ancestral Flights) this event is evident:

… The Sikuri

Whistles in my heart

Like a call

To the deepest

Of the conscience!

The Sikuri is a bird, an instrument and a dance: myth, culture and history come together in this image, why the whistling of the Sikuri? It is about this return to the roots.

This connection with the “deepest part of the conscience”, ancestral roots to which the author clings to after grief, after heartbreak.

It is the recovery of a lineage that is sung in these verses, and this search is expressed from the everyday: poems to the mother, the daughter, the grandfather, the house as a refuge, as a safe place to take shelter after the avalanche. And it is in the face of unpredictable human and natural situations, where we seek the “flight-refuge”.

Run Away 

I would like to go to the mountains

To Luya, Marca or Hualgayoc

Wherever there is a river

Steep hills

Luya, her hometown, reconstructed in this imaginary of the vegetal, of the magical, refuge and fortress “to get away from me…”. To bathe in the river, to flee to the mountains, to connect with the Earth, with that being that contains all other beings, where one seeks relief and strength in the face of heartbreak.

So deep is the search for the root that is expressed in these poems-letters-whispers that the author dives deep and far: to Gaia, mother Earth, for the Greeks the primordial divinity, mother of all beings that inhabit the world. The lyrical subject feels Gaia’s heart beating with his own, in primordial communion:

I enter into a trance

And calm invades me

My body disappears

And I join you,

Mother GAIA


Throws me into emptiness

To feel her heart

That beats like mine.

The heart wants to be extirpated: in the hole the sap of the Earth, the Earth and its echoes, its deities, its fire, its water, its lightning; the Earth and its steps on it: in the huarango — tree very appreciated in the Peruvian traditional medicine —, in the ichu — characteristic grass of the high plateau —, in the river, in the mountain. The Earth that transforms, that heals a hole in the heart: perhaps a tree can germinate in that hole and its foliage will be offered to us in new books, which we will surely wait for.

Mariajosé Escobar

Caracas, Venezuela