Words

They are like a crystal,
words.
Some a dagger,
some a blaze.
Others,
merely dew.

Secret they come, full of memory.
Insecurely they sail:
cockleboats or kisses,
the waters trembling.

Abandoned, innocent,
weightless.
They are woven of light.
They are the night.
And even pallid
they recall green paradise.

Who hears them? Who
gathers them, thus,
cruel, shapeless,
in their pure shells?

Translation: 1985, Alexis Levitin, Inhabited Heart
Perivale Press, Los Angeles, 1985

São como um cristal,
as palavras.
Algumas, um punhal,
um incêndio.
Outras,
orvalho apenas.

Secretas vêm, cheias de memória.
Inseguras navegam:
barcos ou beijos,
as águas estremecem.

Desamparadas, inocentes,
leves.
Tecidas são de luz
e são a noite.
E mesmo pálidas
verdes paraísos lembram ainda.

Quem as escuta? Quem
as recolhe, assim,
cruéis, desfeitas,
nas suas conchas puras?

Eugénio de Andrade, Coração do Dia
Limiar, Porto, 1958

Photo: Point Omega by Don Delillo (sometimes I’m too lazy to take notes)

The syntax of things

since feeling is first

who pays any attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

my blood approves

and kisses are a better fate

than wisdom

lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry

—the best gesture of my brain is less than

your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then

laugh, leaning back in my arms

for life’s not a paragraph

and death i think is no parenthesis

e.e. cummings, Since feeling is first

Photo: streets of Porto. May there be forgiveness for the word.

I do pay too much attention to the “syntax of things” and it’s becoming harder to move beyond words.