Não fora o Mar

Não fora o mar,

e eu seria feliz na minha rua,

neste primeiro andar da minha casa

a ver, de dia, o sol, de noite a lua,

calada, quieta, sem um golpe de asa.

Não fora o mar,

e seriam contados os meus passos,

tantos para viver, para morrer,

tantos os movimentos dos meus braços,

pequena angústia, pequeno prazer.

Não fora o mar,

e os seus sonhos seriam sem violência

como irisadas bolas de sabão,

efémero cristal, branca aparência,

e o resto — pingos de água em minha mão.

Não fora o mar,

e este cruel desejo de aventura

seria vaga música ao sol pôr

nem sequer brasa viva, queimadura,

pouco mais que o perfume duma flor.

Não fora o mar

e o longo apelo, o canto da sereia,

apenas ilusão, miragem,

breve canção, passo breve na areia,

desejo balbuciante de viagem.

Não fora o mar

e, resignada, em vez de olhar os astros

tudo o que é alto, inacessível, fundo,

cimos, castelos, torres, nuvens, mastros,

iria de olhos baixos pelo mundo.

Não fora o mar

e o meu canto seria flor e mel,

asa de borboleta, rouxinol,

e não rude halali, garra cruel,

Águia Real que desafia o sol.

Não fora o mar

e este potro selvagem, sem arção,

crinas ao vento, com arreio,

meu altivo, indomável coração,

Não fora o mar

e comeria à mão,

não fora o mar

e aceitaria o freio.

Fernanda de Castro, in “Trinta e Nove Poemas”

I couldn’t find a translation of this poem. I did try to translate it myself and I think I ended up mutilating it because I was not able to translate the feeling of disquiet a lifetime staring at the sea actually has over ourselves. In the midst of all the routines, broken illusions and plans that have not been fulfilled, you can’t help yourself. You don’t surrender.

It weren’t for the sea,

and I would be happy on my street,

on this first floor of my house

to see, by day, the sun, at night the moon,

quiet, quiet, without a blow of the wing.

It weren’t for the sea,

and my steps would be numbered,

so many to live, to die,

so many movements of my arms,

little anguish, little pleasure.

It weren’t for the sea,

and your dreams would be without violence

like iridescent soap bubbles,

ephemeral crystal, white appearance,

and the rest – drops of water in my hand.

It weren’t for the sea,

and this cruel desire for adventure

would be vague music in the sun

not even live coal, burning,

little more than the perfume of a flower.

It weren’t for the sea

and the long appeal, the mermaid’s song,

only illusion, mirage,

brief song, brief step in the sand,

bursts of travel.

It weren’t for the sea

and, resigned, instead of looking at the stars

everything that is high, inaccessible, deep,

high, castles, towers, clouds, masts,

would be travelling face down through the world.

It weren’t for the sea

and my song would be flower and honey,

butterfly wing, nightingale,

and not rude halali, cruel claw,

Royall eagle defying the sun.

It weren’t for the sea

and this wild colt,

mane in the wind, harnessed,

my haughty, indomitable heart,

It weren’t for the sea

and I would eat out of hand,

It weren’t for the sea,

and would accept the bridle.


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