quinta-feira, 30 de agosto de 2012


All summer long, I waited for the night
to drive out in the unexpected gold
of beech woods, and those  lighted homesteads, set
like kindling in the crease-lines of the dark,

catching a glimpse, from the road, or hudlled dogs
and sleepless cattle, mustered in a yard
as one flesh, heads 
like lanterns, swaying, full of muddled light;

light from the houses television blue,
a constant flicker, like the run of thought
that keeps us from ourselves, although it seems
to kindle us, and make us plausible,

creatures of habit, ready to click 
into motion. All summer long,
I knew it had something to do
with looking again, how something behind the light

had gone unnoticed; how the bloom on things
is always visible, a muddled patina
of age and colour, twinned with light or shade
and hiding the source of itself, in its drowned familiar.

John Burnside, The Hunt in the Forrest, Cape Poetry, 2009 

terça-feira, 28 de agosto de 2012

À Bout de Souffle

Someone might call it either, but for you
the light at the end of the tunnel is never quite air,

and breath is a shape that sails out over rootops
into the lights off the quay and tethered yawls.

Awake all night, as the lovers are awake
in that Godard film where everyone runs forever,

I think of you as fog, or phosphorescence
vanishing into the weft of the hospital linen,
b.p. and oxygen falling, like notes on a scale,

less song, than resonance, less cry, than chime:
a leyline in a field of iron filings
or how a lost room settles in the bone,

pale as the fire in those cradles of horsehair and tallow
we used to burn out at the saltpans on wet afternoons,

coorying like ghosts to the gold of the flame
and finding a home there - delicate; incomplete;

and perfect, like the grayscale in this film
that sifts out your future and seals it, in cirrus, then stone.

John Burnside, The Hunt in the Forest, Cape Poetry, 2009

sexta-feira, 24 de agosto de 2012


And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

And if, as weeks go round, in the dark of the moon
my spirit darkens and goes out, and soft strange gloom
pervades my movements and my thoughts and words
then I shall know that I am walking still
with God, we are close together now the moon's in shadow.

And if, as autumn deepens and darkens
I feel the pain of falling leaves, and stems that break in storms
and trouble and dissolution and distress
and then the softness of deep shadows folding,
folding around my soul and spirit, around my lips
so sweet, like a swoon, or more like the drowse of a low, sad song
singing darker than the nightingale, on, on to the solstice
and the silence of short days, the silence of the year, the shadow,
then I shall know that my life is moving still
with the dark earth, and drenched
with the deep oblivion of earth's lapse and renewal.

And if, in the changing phases of man’s life
I fall in sickness and in misery
my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead
and strength is gone, and my life
is only the leavings of a life:

and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion, and snatches of renewal
odd, wintry flowers upon the withered stem, yet new, strange flowers
such as my life has not brought forth before, new blossoms of me

then I must know that still
I am in the hands of the unknown God,
he is breaking me down to his own oblivion
to send me forth on a new morning, a new man.

D. H. Lawrence


terça-feira, 21 de agosto de 2012

Not just odd

A successful novelist can, with luck, make a bundle, as can a memoir writer (if he or she is fortunate to have had a mother who murders the author’s father in front of his or her eyes), and a third-rate painter can do quite well if a hotel chain or a bank starts fancying his seascapes and sunflowers, but few poets ever made a living from poetry. In past centuries, they could hope for a dinner invitation from some noblemen holed up in his castle to entertain his drunken guests, or even receive a piece of land from the king after writing a paean to his various conquests and massacres. But in modern times, except in the Soviet Union under Stalin, the possibility that poets might toady up to the high and mighty and live thereafter in clover has been foreclosed. Even Robert Frost, who was immensely popular and widely read during his lifetime, had to get a teaching job to support himself. As for the rest of our great poets, going back to Whitman and Dickinson, their combined income from poetry, if it were known, would make them even more incomprehensible in the eyes of many Americans than they already are.

In a country that now regards money as the highest good, doing something for the love of it is not just odd, but downright perverse. Imagine the horror and anger felt by parents of a son or daughter who was destined for the Harvard Business School and a career in finance but discovered an interest in poetry instead. Imagine their enticing descriptions of the future riches and power awaiting their child while trying to make him or her reconsider the decision. “Who has recognized you as a poet? Who has enrolled you in the ranks of poets?,” the trial judge shouted at the Russian poet Josef Brodsky, before sentencing him to five years of hard labor. “No one,” Brodsky replied. He could have been speaking for all the sons and daughters who had to face their parents’ wrath.

Charles Simic, aqui.

segunda-feira, 20 de agosto de 2012

"Cronaca Familiare" de Valerio Zurlini, 1962

Parece ser somente à luz da doutrina cristã da Encarnação do Filho de Deus que a filosofia pode conceber-se como uma leitura dos sinais dos tempos, sem se reduzir a um puro registo passivo do curso do tempo. “À luz da encarnação” constitui assim de novo uma expressão que tenta apreender uma relação cuja dimensão problemática não resolvida constitui o próprio núcleo da experiência da eventualidade: a Encarnação de Deus de que aqui se trata não é só uma maneira de exprimir de maneira mítica aquilo que a filosofia acaba por descobrir como resultado de uma investigação racional. A Encarnação também não é a verdade última dos enunciados filosóficos, desmistificada e reconduzida ao seu sentido próprio. Como já comprovámos de diferentes maneiras nos desenvolvimentos anteriores, esta relação problemática entre filosofia e Revelação religiosa é o próprio sentido da Encarnação. Por outras palavras, Deus incarna, revela-se antes de mais na anunciação bíblica que, por fim, “dá lugar” ao pensamento pós-metafísico da eventualidade do ser. É apenas na medida em que redescobre a sua própria proveniência neotestamentária que este pensamento pós-metafísico pode representar-se como um pensamento da eventualidade do ser, não se reduzindo à pura aceitação do existente, ao puro relativismo histórico e cultural. Noutros termos, é a Encarnação que confere à história o sentido de uma revelação redentora e não só o de uma acumulação confusa de acontecimentos que perturbam o carácter puramente estrutural do verdadeiro ser. Que a história tenha também, ou justamente, um sentido redentor (ou em linguagem filosófica, emancipador), sendo ao mesmo tempo a história de anunciações e de respostas, de interpretações e não de “descobertas” ou de presenças “verdadeiras” que se impõem, é algo que só se torna pensável à luz da doutrina da Encarnação.

Gianni Vattimo, O rasto do rasto in A Religião, Miguel Serras Pereira (trad.), Relógio D'Água, 1997.

quinta-feira, 16 de agosto de 2012


III Gwenn Ha Du

I remember the song they would sing
all the way home from the Woodside, my uncles and cousins,
tarred with the mines and the shipyards, cradled in smoke
and bawling it out, on rain-deadened streets and wynds,
to hear the echo turning in the stones
like déjà vu

-------------- and still I live in hope to see
the holly ground once more -

what they were looking for, then,
was another beginning,
the black that occasions white, the white in black,
an older soul, exhumed from the flesh and bone
to carry on the ancient narrative
of manhood as a song, the savage joy
of bagpipe music, pagan memories,
a host of kinfolk rising from the sea,
a house looming out of the fog
and becoming home.

I think now of their disembodied love
and that animal sense I share, in the nerve and the bone
of something urgent, straining from the veins
of holy ground: the hard quotidian;
pit-shafts and docks, harbours and open meadows,
the gap in the hedge, the whisper of running water,
an acre of fog and brambles where something I lost
returned in another form, and was barely remembered.

No permanence is here; no planned Imperium;
this is the holly ground, where nothing happens,
a place we can take for home, when we understand
that it cannot be held, it cannot be taken or given:
egret and cormorant, ibis, the shore birds and waders;
the Japanese tourist; the girl from the waterfront bar;
the clan ghosts and latter-day saints, and the self-appointed
keepers of song and war; the unblinking dead:
everything passes through - but the passing through
is what we think of, now, as sanctuary;

and, sometimes,
nothing will happen:
the world that was ebbing away turns back on itself,
a gust of wind, the sidestreet bagadou,
children's voices
gathered in a cypress;
what matters now is not the narrative,
what matters is not the event, but the light-frayed hem
of the moment's annunciation;
what matters is the point where nothing matters:
the gap in the hedge, an acre of fog and brambles
and how the sacred - hard quotidian -
returns to us in songs and superstitions,
an ember that burns in the nerves and the reasoning brain,
a guttering flame, that nothing will ever extinguish -

John Burnside, Gift Songs, Cape Poetry, 2007

"Zelig" de Woody Allen, 1983

quarta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2012

XI - Lares

All afternoon I have heard you
going from room to room, as if you would offer
the gift of a watchful presence, the gift of a look
to how the sunlight gathers in the folds
of curtains

how the shadows on the wall
flit back and forth, more sparrow, or swallow in flight
than birds would have been.

Like you I have felt it today; that space in our house
where doors might swing open
messengers appear:
the curve of a bowl, or the red in a vase of carnations
softly assuming the forms of a visitation.

We go for weeks and never catch ourselves
like this, the trace of magic we possess
locked in the work of appearing, day after day,
in the world of our making

we go for months with phantoms in our heads
till, filling a bath or fetching the laundry in,
we see ourselves at home, illumined,
folding a sheet, or pouring a glass of milk,
bright in the here and now, and unencumbered.

John Burnside, Gift Songs, Cape Poetry, 2007

domingo, 12 de agosto de 2012


[EDMUND] You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see - and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!
It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death!

Eugene O'Neil, A Long Day's Journey Into Night, Nick Hern Books, 1991.

Love, Love, Love

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2012

give out

manuscrito de Harry Haller (só para loucos)

     O dia passara igual a todos os outros, eu assassinara-o docemente naquele meu jeito de viver primitivo e envergonhado; trabalhara umas horas, remexera uns livros velhos, tivera por duas horas dores iguais às que as pessoas idosas costumam ter, tomara uma cápsula e alegrara-me de ver que as dores iam cedendo; mergulhara num banho escaldante e absorvera aquele calor benfazejo, recebera o correio três vezes e percorrera com os olhos todas aquelas dispensáveis cartas e impressos; fizera os meus exercícios respiratórios, mas os exercícios mentais, esses, pusera-os por ora de lado, a bem da preguiça; saíra a passear uma hora e descobrira, desenhadas no céu, amostras de nuvens penugentas, belas, delicadas, preciosas. Era realmente lindo, como era também agradável folhear os livros velhos e alongar-me no banho quente; mas, tudo somado, não fora propriamente um dia delicioso, radioso, de felicidade e alegria, fora sim um daqueles dias que já há muito tempo deveriam ser para mim normais e corriqueiros: dias moderadamente agradáveis, francamente suportáveis, mornos, e medianos, de um senhor a entrar na idade, insatisfeito, dias em padecimentos e sem preocupações de maior, sem aflições propriamente ditas, sem desespero, dias em que até a questão de saber se não terá chegado a altura de seguir o exemplo de Adalbert Stifter e ter um acidente ao fazer a barba, se pondera sem emoção nem receios, pragmática e tranquilamente. 
     Quem experimentou já os outros, os maus dias das crises de gota ou daquelas terríveis enxaquecas que se enfaixam solidamente por trás do globo ocular e demoniacamente enfeitiçam, de alegria para tortura, toda a actividade da vista e do ouvido; ou aqueles dias de morte na alma, aqueles amaldiçoados dias de desespero e vazio interior em que no seio da terra devastada e depauperada pelas grandes companhias, o mundo dos homens e a chamada civilização, com o seu enganoso e ordinário fulgor de metal de feira, a cada passo nos lançam em rosto um meio sorriso, qual vomitivo, concentrado e impelido ao cúmulo do abominável no nosso próprio eu adoecido - quem experimentou esses dias infernais dá-se por bem satisfeito perante dias normais como o de hoje, dias assim-assim; chega-se agradecido ao calor do fogão, agradecido se constata, lendo o matutino, que hoje também não rebentou nenhuma guerra, não se instituiu qualquer nova ditadura, não se descobriu qualquer sujeira especialmente abjectiva na política ou nos negócios; agradecido afina as cordas da sua lira enferrujada para um salmo de graças moderado, mediocremente jovial, quase jubiloso, com o qual irá enfadar o seu deus da satisfação, deus do assim-assim, doce, tranquilo, algo atordoado de brometo; e na morna e densa atmosfera desse enfado satisfeito, dessa ausência de dor que tão grande reconhecimento nos merece, um outro, o deus assim-assim mornamente cabeceando, e o homem assim-assim, levemente grisalho, cantando um salmo abafado, assemelham-se como gémeos. 

Herman Hesse, O Lobo das Estepes, Círculo de Leitores, 1990.

segunda-feira, 6 de agosto de 2012

On rectification

Kafka liked to have his watch one hour and a half fast. Felice kept setting it right. Nonetheless, for five years they almost married. He made a list of arguments for and against marriage, including the inability to bear the assault of his own life (for) and the sight of the nightshirts laid out on his parents' bed at 10.30 (against). Haemorrhage saved him. When advised not to speak by doctors in the sanitorium, he left glass sentences all over the floor. Felice, says one of them, had too much nakedness left in her.

Anne CarsonGlass and God, Cape Poetry, 1998

sábado, 4 de agosto de 2012

"Love and Death" de Woody Allen, 1975

Mais il faut le reconnaître: Platon n'a pas trouvé ce qu'il cherchait. Ou pour être plus exact: Platon n'a pas réussi à rapporter aux hommes ce qu'il avait trouvé au-delà des limites de la connaissance possible. Quand il essayait de montrer aux hommes ce qu'il avait vu, cette chose se transformait mystérieusement sous ses yeux en son contraire. Il est vrai que ce “contraire” nous séduit et nous charme par le reflet de l'ineffable qui réveille chez les mortels les souvenirs de la plénitude et de la beauté initiale, infinie et surhumaine de l'être. Mais l'ineffable est resté tel. Il est difficile de voir le Créateur du monde, est impossible de le montrer. L'ineffable est ineffable parce que et pour autant qu'il s'oppose par sa nature même non pas à l'incarnation en géneral, mais à l'incarnation définitive et dernière. Il s'incarne, mais ne peut et ne veut se transformer en connaissance, car la connaissance, c'est la contrainte; la contrainte, c'est la soumission, la perte, la privation qui cache en somme au fond d'elle même la terrible menace d'acquiescentia in se ipso. L'homme cesse d'être un homme et devient une pierre douée de conscience.

Léon Chestov, Athènes et Jérusalem, Boris de Schloezer (trad.), Aubier. 1993.

quinta-feira, 2 de agosto de 2012


Meanwhile I know you will be pleased
if I leave with you

to chew over in your own time,

a small question of interpretation
which arouse out of my visit to Orvieto.
The cathedral contains a chapel,

now know as the Signorelli Chapel,
decorated in 1499 with monumental frescoes,
painted pilasters, panels of grotesques

and false windows
by the famed Luca Signorelli
for a fee of 180 ducats paid pro rata.

Around the lower walls of the chapel
Signorelli has added
series of grisaille medallions

illustrating scenes from Dante's Commedia
They are monochrome,
eerie in appearance

and iconologically
For example,

one medallion depicts the scene from Purgatorio III
where Dante is accosted by a mob of souls.
They are demanding an answer.

E urgente.
They point.

Dante's text makes clear
that it is Dante's shadow
which has mastered the attention of the whimpering shades,

for throughout the Purgatorio (you well know)
only Dante,
as a living man,

casts a shadow.
Dante makes no mistake
about what the laws of optics require here.

Shadow is a matter of interception of light.
The dead intercept nothing. Capisco.
Much less clear

is Signorelli's rendering of the scene.
He had given everyone a shadow.

The standard guidebook explanation
fails to nourish me:
'...Signorelli has assigned shadows

to all figures unable to supress
his naturalistic training

even at the expense of poetic veracity.'
Non capisco.
I point.


There are three ways  to master death.
Here is the third one (the one
Anna Xenia told me

on the way home from Orvieto).
Signorelli is painting late in his studio
when they carry in his son,

killed in a riot.
He sits up all night with the body,
making sketch after sketch

and throwing them into a pile.
From that time
all his angels

have the one same face.

Anne Carson, Glass and God, Cape Poetry, 1998