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Extraído de  

POESIA SEMPRE.  Revista da Biblioteca Nacional do RJ.   Ano 3 – Número 5 – Fevereiro  1995.          Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Biblioteca Nacional / Ministério da Cultura – Departamento Nacional do Livro.   ISSN 0104-0626 Ex. bibl. Antonio Miranda

            THE BATS (“Os Morcegos”)

Translated by Kerry Shawn Keyes

Bats hide in the eaves of the customs house.
But where do the men hide who also fly
their whole lives in the dark,
bumping against white walls of Love?

Our father´s house was full of bats
hanging like lanterns from the old rafters
that supported the roof threatened by the rain.
“These children such our blood”, my father would sigh.

What na Will throw the first Stone at that mammal
who, like himself, is nourished by the blood of animals
(my brother! my brother!) and, banded together, demands
the sweat of this kind even in the dark?

Man hides on the halo of a breast as Young as the night;
on the down of his pillow, in the lamp light
man watches over the golden coins of his love.
But the bat, sleeping like a pendulum, only safeguards the offended day.

When He died, our father left us (myself and my eight brothers)
his house wher it rained at night through the broken tiles.
We redeemed the loan and saved the bats.
Now they wrangle between the walls: blind like us.



Santa Leopoldina Asylum ("Asilo Santa Leopoldina")


Every day I return to Maceio.
I arrive in lost ships, thirsty trains, blind planes
         that only land at nightfall.
Crabs stroll about bandstands in the white plazas.
Rivers of sugar run through the paving stones,
flowing sweetly from the sacks stored in the warehouses
and purifying the stale blood of the murdered.
As soon as I get there I take the road to the asylum.
In this city where my ancestors rest in seaside cemeteries,
only the madmen of my childhood still live and wait for me.
They all recognize me and greet me with grunts
and obscene or grandiose gestures.
Nearby, in the barracks, a screeching bugle
separates sunset from the starry night.
The languid madmen dance and sing behind bars.
Halleluyah! Halleluyah! Beyond pity
the order of the world shines like a sword.
And the wind from the sea fills my eyes with tears.


Translated by Kerry Shawn Keyes



The property owners ("Os proprietaries")


When I get there at night I come across
the hawk flying over my driveway.
The lights of the car disturb it, and for a moment
its mute indignation hovers the fenceposts.
"Who is this intruder who dares to bother me
in my sinuous sleep or perpetual vigil."
In the darkness, it looks for a new place.

Who owns this land? Who's the landlord

of this shut-up house, of the water and woods?

What office registered the title to this air?

Man and hawk dispute the same domain.

Both are birds of prey flying in the darkness,

or lodged motionless at the entrance of the unseen property

which fears the flash of an inappropriate light.


         Translated by Kerry Shawn Keyes



Translated by KCS Tolentino


Lêdo Ivo was bom in 1924 in Maceio, Alagoas. He studied in Recife and at the age of nineteen moved to Rio de janeiro definitively. As well as writing poems and novels, he worked as a journalist. In 1986, he was elected to the Academia Brasileira de  Letras. He had close friendship with Manuel Bandeira and José Lins do Rego and vas very influenced by Jean-Arthur Rimbaud. He is an important member of the anti-modernist "Generation of 1945". 


" While he considers himself an inspired poet, Lêdo Ivo is, above all, dedicated to the form and craft of poetry. The poems below are all taken from Antologia  Poética de Lêdo Ivo.


KCS Tolentino was born in San Francisco, California. She lives in São Paulo, Brazil and works as a teacher and translator.



The Cloak


On the floor of my childhood

I'll find everything I've lost:

the blue cloak, the picture book,
the photograph of the dead brother

and that cold mouth of yours, your cold mouth.


The blue cloak on the floor of my childhood

covers objects and hallucinations.

A blue cloak, the deepest of blues

found nevermore, for

such a blue exists no longer.


And to all of you, pure or fallen

virgins in winter, so abhorrent in summer,

1 ask of you this deep blue:

cover me with this cloak on my dying day.


When 1 am dying, you can all be sure

a blue cloak, the deepest of blues,

will envelop the whole of me, from head to toe.



The Bats


Bats are hidden within crevices

of the customhouse. But where

is man hidden, he who spends his life in dark flight,

clashing up against the white wall of love?


Our father's house was full of bats,

hanging like chandeliers from ancient rafters

sustaining tile roofs threatened by the rain.

"These children suck away at our blood", my father sighed.


Which man will throw the first stone at this mammal

who, like him, feeds on the blood of other animals

(my brother, my brother!) and thus attuned demands

the sweat of his companions, even in darkness?


Within the halo of a breast, young as the night,

a man hides; in the silky cotton of his pillow, amid glaring lights

he guards the golden coins of his love.

But the bat, sleeping pendulum, guards only the disdained day.


Upon dying, our father left us (my eight siblings and me)

his house, where at night rain poured through broken tiles.

We took out a mortgage and maintained the bats.

And within those walls they fluster; shared blindness.



The Onset of Summer


Thus summer begins: flies buzz

and stones glimmer

and the murmurs of the world are with us

like dunes and mirages.


And then at nightfall

day becomes that untouchable

naked breast, rival to the sun now gone.

And crickets sing. And trains pass.


Life, honeyless bee, buzzes at dawn.

And flies hover over bodies,

humidly fragrant with summer.

And in the fields, early morning fires crackle.



Sonnet to Time


Because it is time, for me, it is not all,

even as it flows, singing along the riverbanks

of this life made of water that hauls

it to the blundered voyage and takes

everything within its confusion, leaving

time found, lost. Just as the source

is lost upon existing and flows, singing

between stones and woods in its course.

Quadrant of reality, oh ancient mirror

of days when, leaning over you, I spy

myself the same and different, younger, older,

a dream I resemble in my desire.

And time, fallen eternity,

my contemporary in its vitality.



The Job of Living


I always go beyond myself

with you reversed, oh verse.

All that isn't born in me

and the mask, more honest

than my face, takes over

my terrestrial symbols.

Imagination! Your veil

envelops humble objects

that shimmer m the shadows.

Vestibule of the inexpressible,

poetry, you are like meat,

existence lies behind you.

And words are coins.

With them we buy everything,

trees born in space

and the ocean we cannot hear,

tangible shapes of a body

and the earth where we do not walk.

If to invent is my destiny,

I invent and invent myself. I sing.



To Whom It May Concern


All themes are equal
and weigh the same when put in balance.
The child´s cry and the extinguished light,
my love and the clamour of committees,
the savings and the waste,
the whiteness of the weeding sheets
and the red wine stain on linens
— all becomes equal
on the battlefield.



From:  MODERN POETRY IN TRANSLATION.  New Series / No. 6 / Winter 1994-95. Special Feature: Modern Poetry from Brazil.   Published by King´s College London.
University of London.  Edited by Daniel Weissbort




         REVISTA DE POESIA E CRÍTICA. Ano XIV no 15 Brasília, 1990. Diretor responsável: José Jézer de Oliveira.



         Beneath the cancioneiros gentle shade
         Though youthful syet, a haven I behold,
         For I am tired of time and cannot mould
         My verse in metres dignified and said,

         As my last verse should be;/s the first I made
         Are sung already, but without sthe old
         Accent upon ther purê ando on the bold
         Of songs eternal that will never fade.

         I follow the rivers tha sing upon their way
         The imortal slyric of the sser outcastsl,
         Who, being in Babylon, sighs for Mandalay;

         Taking a woman with me, I shall stray
         And shall become, while plunging in the past,
         More modern and more ancient everey day.

                  (Translated by Leonards S. Downes)


Página ampliada e republicada em agosto de 2008; ampliada e republicada em set. 2009; ampliada em junho de 2017

Brazilian poetry in English - Brazilian poets - poems




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