A post by Peter Jordens.
‘Muurgedichten’ [Wall Poems] is a project in which over 100 poems in various languages have been painted on the exterior walls of buildings in the city of Leiden, the Netherlands, since 1992. Recently the first poem in Papiamentu was added: a fragment of ‘Mi Nigrita Papyamentu’ by Curaçaoan poet Guillermo E. Rosario. This has become a reality due to the persistent efforts of Libèrta Rosario, the poet’s daughter, and others since 2011.
Guillermo E. Rosario (Venezuela 1917 – Curaçao 2003) is one of Curaçao’s best known and most revered literary writers. In ‘Mi Nigrita Papyamentu’ (1971) he compares Papiamentu, the creole language of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba, with a beautiful creole woman whom he calls ‘his little black darling’ and describes in luscious detail. Here is the fragment that appears on the wall in Papiamentu, with its English translation:
Bo ta manera nos rank’i angló
Ku pa kwantu nan trap’e
Ranka su yerbanan
Marchitá su flornan
I asta distruí su rais
E ta bolbe lanta kabes
I ku kada yobida
E ta krese
Ku mas forsa
I mas bunitesa ku antes!
You are also like our puncture vine creeper
No matter how much they trample her
Pull her weeds
Ruin her flowers
And even destroy her roots
She rises again
And, with each rainfall
And more beautiful than before!
The poem fragment appears together with its Dutch translation on the wall of the residence and office of Mr. Aart van Bochove, Vestwal 2-4, 2312 NP Leiden.
– ‘Papiamentstalig gedicht op Leidse muur’, Amigoe (print edition), October 19, 2017, p. 5.
– Wall photo by Veerle van der Gracht, from https://www.vpro.nl/programmas/etc/de-stad-is-een-gedicht.html