I believe in Pablo Picasso, almighty creator of heaven and earth

I believe in Charlie Chaplin

Son of violets and mice

Who was crucified, died, and laid in the grave by his era,

but who each day is revived in the hearts of men

I believe in love and art

As ways to find joy in the hardness of life

I believe in the crickets that people the magic crystal night

I believe in the miller that lives to create stars with his marvelous wheel

I believe in the highest gifts of humanity configured in the memory

of Isadora Duncan

brought down like a pure, wounded dove under the Mediterranean sky

I believe in the chocolate coins that I hide under the pillow of my childhood

I believe in the legend of Orpheus

I believe in the sorcery of music that in the hours of my anguish I saw

under the spell of Fauré's Pavanne

leaving sweet Euridice liberated and radiant

from the inferno of my soul

I believe in Rainer Marie Rilke

hero of humanity's struggle

for beauty, who sacrificed his life

while picking a rose for a lady

I believe in the roses that burst forth

from the adolescent corpse of Ophelia

I believe in the silence of Achilles weeping before the sea

I believe in a small and distant ship

that left a century ago to meet the sun

Its captain Lord Byron

in his belt the archangels' swords

and around his temples

the splendor of the stars

I believe in Ulysses' dog

and in Alice's cat

smiling in Wonderland

In Robinson Crusoe's parrot

In the mice that pulled

Cinderella's carriage

In Berylfire, Roland's horse

and in the bees that build their hive in the heart of Martín Tinajero

I believe in friendship

as the most lovely creation of mankind

I believe in the powerful creators of humanity

And I believe in me

since I know that there are some

who love me




Creo en Pablo Picasso, todopoderoso

creador del cielo y de la tierra

Creo en Charlie Chaplin

Hijo de las violetas y los ratones

que fué crucificado, muerto y sepultado

por el tiempo, pero que cada dia resucita

en el corazon de los hombres

Creo en el amor y el arte

como vias hacia el disfrute de la vida perdurable

Creo en los grillos

que pueblan la noche de mágicos cristales

Creo en el amolador

que vive de fabricar estrellas con su rueda maravillosa

Creo en la cualidad aerea del hombre

configurado en el recuerdo

de Isadora Duncan

abatiendose come una purisima paloma herida bajo el cielo del Mediterraneo

Creo en las monedas de chocolate

que atesoro bajo la almohada de mi niñez

Creo en la fábula de Orfeo

Creo en el sortilegio de la musica

yo que en las horas de mi angustia vi

al conjuro de la pavana de Fauré

salir liberada y radiante

a la dulce Euridice del infierno de mi alma

Creo en Rainer Maria Rilke

héroe de la lucha del hombre

por la belleza, que sacrificó su vida

al acto de cortar una rosa por una mujer

Creo en las rosas que brotaron del cadaver adolescente de Ofelia

Creo en el llanto silencioso de Aquiles

frente al mar

Creo en un barco esbelto y distantísimo

que salió hace un siglo al encuentro de la aurora

Su capitán Lord Byron

al cinto las espadas de los arcángeles

y junto a sus sienes

el resplandor de las estrellas

Creo en el perro de Ulises

y en el gato risueño

de Alicia en el País de las Maravillas

En el loro de Robinson Crusoe

En los ratoncitos que tiraron

el carro de la Cenicienta

En Beralfiro, el caballo de Rolando

y en las abejas que labran

su colmena dentro del corazón de Martín Tinajero

Creo en la amistad

como en el invento mas bello del hombre

Creo en los poderes creadores del pueblo

Y creo en mí

puesto que sé que hay alguien

que me ama




Alexandra Howe on Aquiles Nazoa (1920–76)

To any reader raised as a Roman Catholic, this poem will seem immediately familiar. You may not have heard of the Venezuelan journalist and writer Aquiles Nazoa, you may not speak Spanish or be familiar with the legend of Martín Tinajero, the conquistador whose dead body, it was said, attracted swarms of bees with its fragrance of honey. But the title and structure of the poem, the anaphoristic and insistent use of 'I believe' (creo), always at the beginning of a line, the repeated references to creation – and to death – clearly evoke the structure of the Nicene Creed: the profession of faith recited as an act of devotion during Mass.

As instantly as the association is prompted, though, it is rejected, distorted, as the poem spins out its alternative article of faith. We careen through a jumble of allusions that surprise and confound: how do we reconcile the bizarre secular imagery with the testimony of religious belief that is invoked even as it is denied expression? Phrases are alternately mellifluous and discordant; consider: 'Creo en Pablo Picasso, todopoderoso…Creo en Charlie Chaplin'. The images themselves jar: broken-necked Isadora Duncan and the weirdly smiling Cheshire cat are juxtaposed with crickets chirping in the 'magical crystal night' and the glittering 'resplandor de las estrellas'.

The wording of the Nicene Creed was born out of an intense theological dispute in the fourth century about the nature of the relationship between God and Christ. It embodied a delicate compromise between the different views, carefully and powerfully worded so as to bring together opposed sides of the debate in a statement of belief that both could agree on. Though the Byzantine and western Roman Catholic Church later split, the formula of the Creed endured in both branches. And it haunts Nazoa’s poem; he speaks of literary tropes and Hollywood stars, musicians, writers and human emotion as the foundations of faith. But even as he turns away from his religious precedent, so he is ensnared in its liturgy. He presents the apotheosis of artistic 'creation'. The king is dead; long live the king.