quarta-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2012

Chega perto, mar.

Por vezes chega, repentina,
uma hora em que o teu desumano coração
nos assusta e do nosso se separa.
Da minha a tua música discorda,
então, e é meu inimigo todo o teu desafio.
Sobre mim me dobro pois, vazio
de forças, a tua voz parece surda.
Detenho-me sobre o pedregal
que em direcção a ti se estende
até à escarpada margem que te domina,
quebrada, amarela, sulcada
de charcos de água da chuva.
A minha vida é este declive seco,
meio e não fim, caminho aberto à foz
dos regatos, lento desmoronamento.
É também esta planta
que nasce da devastação
e na face recebe os golpes do mar e está suspensa
entre as erráticas forças dos ventos.
Este bocado de solo sem verdura
abriu-se para que uma margarida aí nascesse.
Com ela hesito junto ao mar que me fustiga,
falta ainda o silêncio na minha vida.
Olho a terra que cintila,
o ar é tão sereno que é sem cor.
E isto que em mim cresce
é talvez o rancor
que todo o filho, ó mar, tem pelo pai.

Eugenio Montale, Poesia, Assírio e Alvim, José Manuel de Vasconcelos (trad.), 2004.

sábado, 22 de dezembro de 2012

your heart

[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings, Complete Poems: 1904-1962, George J. Firmage (ed.), Liveright, 1994.

quarta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2012

A daylight art

for Norman MacCaig

On the day he was to take the poison
Socrates told his friends he had been writing:
putting Aesop's fables into verse.

And this was not because Socrates loved wisdom
and advocated the examined life.
The reason was that he had had a dream.

Caesar, now, or Herod or Constantine
or any number of Shakespearean kings
bursting at the end like dams

where original panoramas lie submerged
which have to rise again before the death scenes -
you can believe in their believing dreams.

But hardly Socrates. Until, that is,
he tells his friends the dream had kept recurring
all his life, repeating one instruction:

Practise the art, which art until that moment
he always took to mean philosophy.
Happy the man, therefore, with a natural gift

for practising the right one from the start -
poetry, say, or fishing, whose nights are dreamless;
whose deep-sunk panoramas rise and pass

like daylight through the rod's eye or the nib's eye.

Seamus HeaneyThe Haw Lantern, Faber & Faber, 1987 (reset 2006).

terça-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2012

The Haw Lantern

The wintry haw is burning out of season,
crab of the thorn, a small light for small people,
wanting no more from them but what they keep
the wick of self-respect from dying out,
not having to blind them with illumination.

But sometimes when your breath plumes in the frost
it takes the roaming shape of Diogenes
with his lantern, seeking one just man;
so you end up scrutinized from behind the haw,
he holds up at eye-level on its twig,
and you flinch before its bonded pith and stone,
its blood-prick that you wish would test and clear you,
its pecked-at ripeness that scans you, then moves on.

Seamus Heaney, The Haw Lantern, Faber & Faber, 1987 (reset 2006)

quarta-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2012

"absence is the highest form of presence"

The man continued his monologue. He seemed to have forgotten his recent liberalism. He said that if ever he found a boy talking to girls or having a girl for a sweetheart he would whip him and whip him; and that would teach him not to be talking to girls. And if a boy had a girl for a sweetheart and told lies about it then he would give him such a whipping as no boy ever got in this world. He said that there was nothing in this world he would like so well as that. He described to me how he would whip such a boy as if he were unfolding some elaborate mystery. He would love that, he said, better than anything in this world; and his voice, as he led me monotonously through the mystery, grew almost affectionate and seemed to plead with me that I should understand him.

James Joyce, Dubliners, An Encounter.


IPHIDAMAS a big ambitious boy
At the age of eighteen at the age of restlessness
His family crippled him with love
They gave him a flute and told him to amuse himself
In his grandfather’s sheep‐nibbled fields
That didn’t work they gave him a bride
Poor woman lying in her new name alone
She said even on his wedding night
He seemed to be wearing armour
He kept yawning and looking far away
And by the next morning he’d vanished
Arrogant farmhand fresh from the fields
He went straight for Agamemnon
Aiming for the soft bit under the breastplate
And leaning in pushing all his violence
All his crazy impatience into the thrust
But he couldn’t quite break through the belt‐metal
Against all that silver the spear‐tip
Simply bent like lead and he lost
Poor Iphidamas now he is only iron
Sleeping its iron sleep poor boy
Who fought for Helen for his parents’ town
Far from his wife all that money wasted
A hundred cattle he gave her
A thousand sheep and goats
All that hard work feeding them wasted
Grief is black it is made of earth
It gets into the cracks in the eyes
It lodges its lump in the throat
When a man sees his brother on the ground
He goes mad he comes running out of nowhere
Lashing without looking and that was how COON died
First he wounded Agamemnon
Then he grabbed his brother’s stiffened foot
And tried to drag him home shouting
Help for god’s sake this is Iphidamas
Someone please help but Agamemnon
Cut off his head and that was that
Two brothers killed on the same morning by the same man
That was their daylight here finished
And their long nightshift in the underworld just beginning
Like when two winds want a wood
The south wind and the east wind
Both pull at the trees’ arms
And the sound of smooth‐skinned cornel whipping to and fro
And oak and ash batting long sticks together
Is a word from another world
Like when two winds want a wood
The south wind and the east wind
Both pull at the trees’ arms
And the sound of smooth‐skinned cornel whipping to and fro
And oak and ash batting long sticks together
Is a word from another world

Alice Oswald, Memorial, Faber & Faber, 2011

terça-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2012

Like everyone else

And Hector died like everyone else
He was in charge of the Trojans
But a spear found out the little patch of white
Between his collarbone and his throat
Just exactly where a man’s soul sits
Waiting for the mouth to open
He always knew it would happen
He who was so boastful and anxious
And used to nip home deafened by weapons
To stand in full armour in the doorway
Like a man rushing in leaving his motorbike running
All women loved him
His wife was Andromache
One day he looked at her quietly
He said I know what will happen
And an image stared at him of himself dead
And her in Argos weaving for some foreign woman
He blinked and went back to his work
Hector loved Andromache
But in the end he let her face slide from his mind
He came back to her sightless
Strengthless expressionless
Asking only to be washed and burned
And his bones wrapped in soft cloths
And returned to the ground

Alice Oswald, Memorial, Faber & Faber, 2011

a morte fica-lhe bem

"Did he... peacefully?" she asked.
"Oh, quite peacefully, ma'am," said Eliza. "You couldn't tell when the breath went out of him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised."
"And everything...?"
"Father O'Rourke was in with him a Tuesday and anointed him and prepared him and all."
"He knew then?"
"He was quite resigned."
"He looks quite resigned," said my aunt.
"That's what the woman we had in to wash him said. She said he just looked as if he was asleep, he looked that peaceful and resigned. No one would think he'd make such a beautiful corpse."

James Joyce, Dubliners, The Sisters

segunda-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2012

pequenas memórias

The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was disturbed to find myself at check. Had he not been dead I would have gone into the little dark room behind the shop to find him sitting in his arm-chair by the fire, nearly smothered in his great-coat. Perhaps my aunt would have given me a packet of High Toast for him and this present would have roused him from his stupefied doze. It was always I who emptied the packet into his black snuff-box for his hands trembled too much to allow him to do this without spilling half the snuff about the floor. Even as he raised his large trembling hand to his nose little clouds of smoke dribbled through his fingers over the front of his coat. It may have been these constant showers of snuff which gave his ancient priestly garments their green faded look for the red handkerchief, blackened, as it always was, with the snuff-stains of a week, with which he tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite inefficacious. 

James Joyce, Dubliners, The Sisters.

quarta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2012

O arauto

وأبْـخَـرَ قَصَّ حَديثاً له     فَقالَ الحضورُ:  فَسا ذا الحَدَث
فَقُلْتُ لَهُم: بادِروا بِالقيامِ     فَإنَّ الفُساءَ نَذيرُ الحَدَث

Um tipo com mau hálito falou,     e disseram os presentes: – E não é que ele bufou!
E disse-lhes eu: –  Depressa, fugi!     É que bufa é o arauto da merda!

Ibn Ṣâra de Santarém (1043-1123)

terça-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2012

All truths wait in all things

  The mask is something put on, something external. As a physical object it remains quite distinct from the man who wears it. He feels on him as something foreign, something which never wholly becomes part of himself; it hinders and constricts him. As long as he wears he is two things, himself and the mask. The more often he has worn and the better he knows it, the more of himself will flow into the figure it represents. But there is always one part of him which necessarily remains separate from it : the part that fears discovery, the part which knows that the terror he spreads is not his due. The secret he represents to those who see the mask from outside must also have an effect on himself inside it, but it clearly cannot be the same effect. They are afraid of the unknown; he is afraid of being unmasked. It is this fear which prevents him abandoning himself completely to the mask. His transformation can go a very long way, but it is never complete. The mask is a limit set to transformation. Because it can be torn away, its wearer is bound to fear for it. He must take care that he does not lose it; it must never be dropped and must never open. He feels every kind of anxiety about what may happen to it. Besides playing a part in his transformation, the mask is also a weapon or a tool which its wearer has to handle. He must manipulate it, remaining his everyday self, and, at the same time, must change into it as a performer. While he wears the mask he is thus two people and must remain two during the whole of his performance.

Elias Canetti, Masse und Macht, trad. Carol Stewart, Continuum, 1978.

segunda-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2012


Still he felt nothing. Only the tautness of the muscles in his forearm where all the veins were puffed and thickened, and his toes  where they gripped the platform of the car. Only the humming of the air, and its scorching touch as it eddied round and past him.
He was waiting for the rage to fill him that would be equal at last to the outrage he was commiting. That would assuage his grief, and be so convincing to the witnesses of his barbaric spectacle that he might too believe there was a living man at the centre of it, and that man himself.

David Malouf, Ransom, Vintage, 2010

domingo, 2 de dezembro de 2012

Decálogo III

O nosso sofrimento agrava-se confrontado com a felicidade dos outros.

sábado, 1 de dezembro de 2012

the beating

Rubashov stood stiffly between the bed and the bucket, held his breath, and waited for the first scream. He remembered that the first scream, in which terror still predominated over physical pain, was usually the worst; what followed was already more bearable, one got used to it and after a time one could even draw conclusions on the method of torture from the tone and rhythm of the screams. Towards the end, most people behaved in the same way, however different they were in temperament and voice: the screams became weaker, changed over into whining and choking. Usually the door would slam soon after. The keys would jangle again; and the first scream of the next victim often came even before they had touched him, at the mere sight of the men in the doorway. 

Arthur KoestlerDarkness At Noon, Bantam Books, 1966.