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Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna
Translated by FRED ELLISON

Austin, Texas: Host Publications, 2008.
97 p.   ISBN978-0-924947-67-1

"Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna is the author of numerous books on fields as diverse as art and artists, music and musicians, Brazilian futbol, along with a variety of political and social commentary — the latter frequently reflecting his interest in psychology. I must also mention, in the purely literary area, many works of literary critiicism, and above all, several volumes of poetry, of which A Man and His Shadow is the most recent."  (...


Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna é autor de inúmeros livros sobre campos tão diversos como arte e artistas, a música e músicos, futbol brasileiro, sem esquecer seus comentários políticos e sociais, que refletiam frequentemente seu interesse na psicologia. Não deixo de menciona, na área puramente literária, muitas obras de crítica e sobretudo vários volumes de poesia, dos quais A Man and His Shadow é o mais recente" (...)

"Os quarenta e oito pequenos "poemas-sombra" — assim os designo eu — são todos diferentes mas ao mesmo tempo unificados estruturalmente pelas duas "personagens" principais das mini-narrativas: o homem e sua sombra. Suas interações — em geral apresentadas com humor ou ironicamente — poderiam ser adversativas, amistosas, despreciativas, nocivas, sedutivas, destrutivas, até assassinas. Múltiplos estágios de vida e atividade humana ficam sob o seu escrutínio: nascimento, morte, sexualidade, desejo, ódio, amizade, casamento, infidelidade e impulso artístico, entre outros. Figurativamente o homem representa a consciência."

"The forty-eight little "shadow-poems", as I call them, are all different but at the same time structurally unified by the two central "characters" of the mini-narratives: a man and his shadow. Their relationship — in general shown humorously or ironically —may e adversarial, friendly, disparaging, inimical, loving, destructive, even murderous. Many stages of life and human activity come up for scrutiny: birth, death, sexuality, mystery, longing, marriage, friendship, infidelity, artistry, among others. The man is defined by the light of day. Figuratively the man represent consciousness."

"Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna afirma constantemente o valor, a necessidade, de diálogo entre o indivíduo e a sombra dela (ou dela). Sant´Anna está convencido de que, para ter um sentido da totalidade, de completamento pessoal, o indivíduo precisa de uma vida interior saudável tanto como de seu oposto: uma vida externa que seja bem ampla. Ou redonda.Fred Ellison

"The poet constantly affirms the value, the necessity, of Sant´Anna´s view that, fo compeltion or wholeness, the individual needs to have a healthy inner life as well as its opposite: an external one that is a broad and well-rounded."    Fred Ellison







Era um homem com sombra de cachorro

que sonhava ter sombra de cavalo

 mas era um homem com sombra de cachorro

 e isto de algum modo o incomodava.


Por isto aprisionou-a num canil

e altas horas da noite

enquanto a sombra lhe ladrava

sua alma em pelo galopava.







He was a rnan with a canine shadow

which fancied a horse for its shadow

but the man with the doggie shadow

was worried and couldn't say why.


So he shut it up in a kennel and,

once very late at night

while the shadow was barking at him

its naked soul came galloping by.





Era um homem que tinha uma sombra branca

que de tão branca

                            ninguém a via.

Mesmo assim ela o seguia

e com ela dialogava.

Tinha-se a impressão

que uma coisa ausente

lhe fazia companhia.


Na verdade ele era a sombra

de sua sombra

— a parte da sombra que se via.





He was a man with a shadow so white

so white indeed

                   it couldn't be seen.

It followed him even so

and engaged him in dialogue.

It gave the impression

that something not present

was keeping him company.


He was truly the shadow

of his own shadow

— the part of the shadow you'd see.






Um homem deixou de alimentar

a sombra que transportava.

alegou razões de economia.

Afinal para quê

de sobejo levar

algo que o duplicava?


Sem sombra, pensou:

melhor carregaria

o que nele carregava.


Equivocou-se. Definhou.


Descobriu, então,

que a sombra o sustentava.





A man stopped feeding

the shadow he was leading.

Economic reasons were alleged.

After all, why should he trouble

transporting this excess

that actually was his double?


Without shadow, he thought:

it was better to carry

what he carried inside himself.


He was wrong: He wasted away.


That was when he found his shadow

                                               fed him in the most vital way.





Era um homem que caminhava atrás da própria sombra.


Já não se sabia se ela é que o guiava

ou se ele a perseguia.

Os incomodados sugeriam que a acorrentasse.

Ele tentava.

         Sempre à sua frente

como uma enguia escura e úmida

                                              ela se lhe escapava.


A única hora em que o homem e sua sombra coincidiam

era quando ele dormia.

Pousada nele


                                           sua sombra sonhava.





He was a man who followed his shadow.


No more could you tell who was guiding

or who was the one pursuing.

Some folks, unnerved, suggested he tie it.

He tried and he tried.

                   Always it stayed just ahead

like an eel dark and slimy

                                     it keep slithering away.


He and his shadow would only coincide

when he'd be fast asleep.

Settled down with him

                   his shadow was dreaming

                            as nobody could deny.



(To be continued in the book...)


POESIA SEMPRE – Revista Semestral de Poesia – Ano 2  Número 3 – Rio de Janeiro Fevereiro 1994 - Fundação Biblioteca Nacional. ISSN 0104-0626  Ex. bibl. Antonio Miranda



Letter to the dead ("Carta aos mortos")

Friends, nothing has changed
in essence.


Wages don't cover expenses,
wars persist without end
and there are new and terrible viruses,
beyond the advances of medicine.
From time to time, a neighbor
falls dead over questions of love.
There are interesting films, it is true,
and as always, voluptuous women
seducing us with their mouth and legs,
but in matters of love

we haven't invented a single position that's new.


Some astronauts stay in space

six months or more, testing equipment

and solitude.

In each Olympics new records are predicted
and in the countries social advances and setbacks.
But not a single bird has changed its song
with the times.


We put on the same Greek tragedies,
reread Don Quixote, and spring
arrives on time each year.

Some habits, rivers, and forests
are lost.

Nobody sits in front of their houses anymore
or takes in the breezes of afternoon,
but we have amazing computers
that keep us from thinking.

On the disappearance of the dinosaurs
and the formation of galaxies
we have no new knowledge.
Clothes come and go with the fashions.

Strong governments fall, others rise,
countries are divided
and the ants and the bees continue
faithful to their work. 

Nothing has changed in essence.
We sing congratulations at parties,
argue football on streetcorners,
die in senseless disasters
and from time to time
one of us looks at the star-filled sky
with the same amazement we once looked at caves
And each generation, full of itself,
continues to think
that it lives at the summit of history. 

Translated by Mark Strand



The body-object and other exam

("O corpo-objeto e outros exemplos")


The object is this body
that involves and subjugates,
common noun
carrying allegories.

The body is this object,
a necessary adjective,
strange and less our own
than the least of our dreams.

This body-object
is not mine, nor yours.
nor death's, nor belongs
to the other possessive pronouns.

The earth's. It's hers. The earth
which receives us warm,
open, and willing.
The earth's and its components.

This object is the earth's,
the earth's that eats you,
body and life: ambivalence.
Fruit and life-they're both seeds.



Página ampliada e republicada em dezembro de 2017



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