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FERREIRA GULLAR

FERREIRA GULLAR

Was born in São Luis do Maranhão in 1930, and He hás lived in Rio de Janeiro since 1951. Poet, journalist and art critic.

 TEXTOS EM PORTUGUÊS  / TEXTS IN ENGLISH

O TRABALHO DAS NUVENS

 

Esta varanda fica

à margem

da tarde. Onde nuvens trabalham.

A cadeira não é tão seca

e lúcida, como

o coração.

 

Só à margem da tarde

é que se conhece

a tarde: que são as

folhas de verde e vento, e

o cacarejar da galinha e as

casas sob um céu: isso. diante

de olhos.

 

E os frutos?

e também os

frutos. Cujo crescer altera

a verdade e a cor

dos céus. Sim, os frutos

que não comeremos, também

fazem a tarde.

                             (a vossa

tarde, de que estou à margem)

 

Há, porém, a tarde

do fruto. Essa

não roubaremos:

                             tarde

em que ele se propõe à gloria de

não mais ser fruto, sendo-o

mais: de esplender, não como astro, mas

como fruto que esplende.

E a tarde futura onde ele

arderá como um facho

efêmero!

Em verdade, é desconcertante para

os homens o

trabalho das nuvens.
Elas não trabalham

acima das cidades: quando

há nuvens não há

cidades: as nuvens ignoram

se deslizam por sobre

nossa cabeça: nós é que sabemos que

deslizamos sob elas: as

nuvens cintilam, mas não é para

o coração dos homens.

 

A tarde é

as folhas esperarem amarelecer

e nós o observarmos.

E o mais é o pássaro branco que

voa — e que só porque voa e o vemos,

voa para vermos. O pássaro que é

branco,

não porque ele o queira nem

porque o neccessitemos: o pás-

saro que é branco

porque é branco.

 

Que te resta, pois, senãu

aceitar?

            Por ti e pelo

pássaro pássaro.

 

===================================================================

 

CLOUDS' WORK

          Translated by Paul Blackburn

 

This verandah is fixed

at the edge

of the afternoon. Where clouds work.

 

The chair is nowhere as dry

& lucid as

the heart.

 

Only at the edge

of the afternoon one knows the

afternoon: green leaves & wind, &

chickens cluck, the

houses under the sky: what's

in front of the eye.

 

And fruits?

& also the

fruits. They grow & modify

the truth

the color

of the skies. Yes, the fruits

we'11 never eat, they too'll

make the afternoon.

          (your afternoon

wherein I am put aside)

 

There's still, however, the after-

noon of the fruit. This

we shan't steal:

 

afternoon

when he makes up his mind

          to be. what glory. no more a fruit,

          being it even more: shining, no star but

          a fruit that shines. & the next afternoon


Clouds' work. in fact, it's

embarrassing for men. Clouds

don't work over cities: when

there are clouds, there aren't

cities: the clouds don't know

they slide along above

our heads: it's we who know we

slide under them: the clouds

shine,

but not for men's hearts.

The afternoon

is leaves waiting to turn

& we watch them.
The whole rest of it is that bird flying

— and just because he flies & we see him, he

flies so we can see him. The bird, that
 white,

not because it wants to be, or because

we need it, white: the bird

that's white

because it's white.

 

          Accept it — what

          choices have you left, you

                   or the bird bird?

 

Extraídos de
AN ANTHOLOGY OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRAZILIAN POETRY. Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.  Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1972. 

==============================================================

Translated by Richard Zenith

 

Richard Zenith's versions of poems by Ferreira Gullar have appeared in

Brazilian Poetry 1950-1980 (Wesleyan University Press, 19S3), APR, The

American Voice and elsewhere.

 

 

Happiness

 

Suffering is the divine way

to nothing.

It won't make a halo

around your head, it won't

illuminate the smallest

square of your dark flesh,

it won't even illuminate

the remembrance or illusion

at happiness.

 

you suffer, a wounded dog

suffers, an insect poisoned

by blackflag suffers.

Is your pain superior

to that of the cat you saw

with the broken back

limping along in the gutter

howling and unable to die?

 

         Justice is moral, injustice

indifferent. Pain

will guarantee you equality

with rats and roaches that also

glimpse from inside their drains

the sun

and in their repulsive bodies

dragging through faeces             

                            wish to be happy.

 

 

Disaster

 

Some wish

         their poem to be

         marble

or crystal. I wanted

mine to be a peach

         or pear

         or banana rotting on a plate

preferably

on a verandah

where people talk and work

and can hear

         the noise from the street.

 

         My only ambition

         is the rotten poem

 

the pulp wounded

         exposed

the voice deep within

                            festering
         on the plate

the liquor the chemistry

         of syllables

                            the decaying corpse

         of metaphors

         a poem

         like a disaster in progress.

 

 

Lesson

 

Even as you once were open to happiness

         open up now to suffering

         its fruit

         and ardent counterpart.

 

Even as

         you went to the heart

                                      of happiness

         lost yourself in it

                                      and in that loss
                                      found yourself

now let sorrow do its work

without lies

without excuses

                   evaporating in your flesh

                   every illusion

for life only consumes

what sustains it.

 

 

Exile

 

In a house in Ipanema surrounded by trees and birds

         in the hot shade of afternoon

                   among familiar furniture

         in the hot shade of afternoon

                   among trees and birds

         among familiar odours

         they live their lives

         they live my life

 

in the shade of a hot afternoon

in the shadow of a hot afternoon

 

 

 

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

 

 

 


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