Saturday, May 15, 2010

I am a Good Goy Now; I Believe in Yoshke, Pray to Getchkas and Eat Chazor Traif

Here is a poem by the converso Anton de Montoro (1404-77):

O sad, bitter clothes-peddler
Who does not feel your sorrow!
Here you are, sixty years of age,
And have always said (to the Virgin):
"You remained immaculate,"
And have never sworn (directly) by the Creator.
I recite the credo, I worship
Pots full of greasy pork,
I eat bacon half-cooked,
Listen to Mass, cross myself
While touching holy waters –
And never could I kill
These traces of the confeso (pejorative for Converso)

With my knees bent
And in great devotion
In days set for holiness
I pray, rosary in hand,
Reciting the beads of the Passion,
Adoring the God-and-Man
As my highest Lord,
And because of the remnants of my guilt
I cannot lose the name
Of an old Jewish son of a whore (puto).

(Yirmiyahu Yovel, The Other Within: The Marranos - Split Identity and Emerging Modernity pg. 112)

So do we believe that this man was sincere in his profession of Catholicism; was he a secret Jew or just an all round religious cynic?

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

I think the poet is ridiculing the whole idea of a religious conversion in a very bitter, sarcastic way. "I worship
Pots full of greasy pork,
I eat bacon half-cooked" sounds like the perfect way of reducing the whole idea of Christianity ad absurdum. This kind of mocking bitterness is characteristic of most of the greatest works of the Spanish literature in that period, since most were created by conversos.

I'll inlcude this poem for analysis in my next Hispanic Civilization class. Let's see how the students respond.