Primeiro dia de Verão: um poema

Flor del Verano_El Girasol_Toronto_2014

Júlio Castañon Guimarães (born 1951, Minas Gerais, Brazil)
Summer
[ Toute l’âme résumée – Stéphane Mallarmé ]
.
the sun
pricks the pores
ravages blemishes of spirit
.
what the sea gives back to the sand
the day outlines
in biceps and trunk and thighs
that embrace the landscape
Gloria the bay
the line of the horizon
.
in the hair below the belly button
a drop gathers in the entire summer
.
and it distills it
on the tongue
in a stain of salt.
. . .
Translation from Portuguese into English:

David William Foster

. . .

Verão
.
o sol
agulha os poros
devasta laivos de espírito
.
o que o mar devolve à areia
o dia desenha
em bíceps e tronco e coxas
que abraçam a paisagem
a Glória a baía
a linha do horizonte
.
nos pêlos abaixo do umbigo
uma gota recolhe todo o verão
.
e o resume
na língua
em um laivo da sal.

. . . . .


Augusto dos Anjos: “Intimate Verses” and “Immortal Lust” / translation by Daniel Vianna

 

Egon Schiele_O Abraço_The Embrace_1915

Egon Schiele_O Abraço_The Embrace_1915

Augusto dos Anjos (Brazilian pre-Modernist poet, 1884-1914)
Versos Íntimos
.
Vês! Ninguém assistiu ao formidável
Enterro de tua última quimera.
Somente a Ingratidão – esta pantera -
Foi tua companheira inseparável!

Acostuma-te à lama que te espera!
O Homem, que, nesta terra miserável,
Mora, entre feras, sente inevitável
Necessidade de também ser fera.

Toma um fósforo. Acende teu cigarro!
O beijo, amigo, é a véspera do escarro,
A mão que afaga é a mesma que apedreja.

Se a alguém causa inda pena a tua chaga,
Apedreja essa mão vil que te afaga,
Escarra nessa boca que te beija!
.     .     .
Intimate verses
.
Look! No one saw the amazing
Burial of your one final dream.
Only the ungrateful and mean
Gave you a shoulder for weeping!

Get used to the cesspit that awaits!
Man, in this miserable land,
Surrounded by wild beasts, can only stand
By dishing out even stronger bites.

Take a match – light your cigarette!
The kiss, the friend, precedes the spit,
The hand caresses – before the stick.

If someone saves you from hell,
Stone the hand that treats you well,
Spit on those who try to kiss you!
.     .     .
Volúpia Imortal
.
Cuidas que o genesíaco prazer,
Fome do átomo e eurítmico transporte
De todas as moléculas, aborte
Na hora em que a nossa carne apodrecer?!

Não! Essa luz radial, em que arde o Ser,
Para a perpetuação da Espécie forte,
Tragicamente, ainda depois da morte,
Dentro dos ossos, continua a arder!

Surdos destarte a apóstrofes e brados,
Os nossos esqueletos descarnados,
Em convulsivas contorções sensuais,

Haurindo o gás sulfídrico das covas,
Com essa volúpia das ossadas novas
Hão de ainda se apertar cada vez mais!

.     .     .
Immortal Lust
.
Do you really think that life-giving bliss,
The driving hunger of eurythmic atoms,
Will abort the molecules in motion
At the time when our flesh becomes putrid?!

No! This radial light that burns Being,
To perpetuate a victorious Species,
Tragically, even after we decease,
Inside the bones – goes on – keeps on – burning!

Deaf from abuses and offenses,
Our fleshless carcasses,
Convulsing and contorting the core,

Exhaling sulfuric gases from the tomb,
With the fresh lust of new bones,
Will yet press together more!
.
Portuguese to English translation: Daniel Vianna

. . .


“O Tygre”: William Blake / “The Tyger”

 

O Tygre_title_Augusto de Campos translation of the William Blake poemIllustration for Augusto de Campos translation of The Tygre by William Blake_From a Turkish Dervish mural 19th century.

O Tygre_first stanza.

O Tygre_second and third stanzas.

O Tygre_fourth and fifth stanzas.

O Tygre_sixth stanza

 


A poesia concreta: Tudo Está Dito / Everything Was Said: the “Concrete” poems of Augusto de Campos

 

Augusto de Campos_Axis_1957_translated by Edwin Morgan

Augusto de Campos_Axis_1957_translated by Edwin Morgan

Augusto de Campos_Tudo Está Dito_1974

Augusto de Campos_Tudo Está Dito_1974

Augusto de Campos_Everything was said_1974

Augusto de Campos_Everything was said_1974

Augusto de Campos_O Pulsar_1975

Augusto de Campos_O Pulsar_1975

Augusto de Campos_The Pulsar_1975

Augusto de Campos_The Pulsar_1975

Augusto de Campos_O Quasar_1975

Augusto de Campos_O Quasar_1975

Augusto de Campos_The Quasar_1975

Augusto de Campos_The Quasar_1975

Augusto de Campos_Memos_1976

Augusto de Campos_Memos_1976

Augusto de Campos_Memos_1976_translated by Claus Cluver

Augusto de Campos_Memos_1976_translated by Claus Cluver

.

Copyright dos poemas e traduções
© 1983 Wesleyan University Press

 .

The phrase Concrete Poetry was coined in 1956 in São Paulo, Brazil, after an exhibition of such poems (I Exposição Nacional de Arte Concreta) that included works by the group Noigandres (Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, Décio Pignatari and Ronaldo Azeredo). The poets Ferreira Gullar and Wlademir Dias-Pino were also featured. Eventually, a Brazilian Concrete Poetry manifesto was published. The manifesto’s core value was that of using words as part of a specifically visual work so that those words are not mere unseen vehicles for ideas.
Although the term Concrete Poetry is contemporary, the idea of using letter arrangements to enhance the meaning of a poem is an ancient one. Such poetry originated in the then-Greek city of Alexandria (in Egypt) during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE.

Old fashioned metal typesetters' blocks_These tools were used by the print and publishing trades before the advent of the computer era_The Concrete Poetry movement relied on such standard building blocks for its words-as-objects format.

Old fashioned metal typesetters’ blocks_These tools were used by the print and publishing trades before the advent of the computer era_The Concrete Poetry movement relied on such standard building blocks for its words-as-objects format.

Vintage typesetters blocks_zero to nine


Gregório de Matos as Hell’s Mouth poet (A Boca do Inferno): a 17th-century poetical critique of the colonial city of Salvador da Bahia / translation by Daniel Vianna

Salvador da Bahia_a print of the city as it might have looked during the 17th century_by Paulo Lachenmeyer

Salvador da Bahia_a print of the city as it might have looked during the 17th century_by Paulo Lachenmeyer

Gregório de Matos
Diagnosis of the ailments that left the Body of the Republic – and all its limbs – ill; and a complete definition of what at all times is Bahia
.
What’s missing in this city?…The Truth.
What more is there gives it dishonour?… Honour.
Is there anything left to blame? – Shame.
.
Regardless of its great fame,
The devil is now living
In this city that is missing
Truth, honour, shame.

What brought it so much pain?… Bargaining.
What caused such perdition?… Ambition.
And amidst this insanity?… Usury.
.
Amazing misadventure
Of an ignorant, sad people,
Who know very little but:
Bargaining, ambition, usury.
.
Which markets do they follow?… The Black Slave.
Which “goods”, not so hollow?… Mulattoes.
And they prefer which people?… Mestizos.
.
To the devil the ignoble,
To the devil all these asses,
Who prefer among all races:
The Negro, Mulatto, Mestizo.
.
Who makes the fines so stiff?… Bailiffs.
Who makes the food come later?… Jailers.
Who takes all for their families?…Deputies.
.
It’s we are taxed to eternity,
And the land is left there – starving,
When we hear them come a-knocking:
Bailiffs, jailers, deputies.
.
And what justice is left?… It’s a wreck.
Is it freely dispensed?… It’s for sale!
Why are people so scared?…’cause it’s fake.
.
Help me God, so I can take
what the King gives us for free;
our Justice is known to be
A wreck – and for sale – and fake.
.
What’s going on with the clergy?… Simony.
And the members of the Church?… Lust.
Is there anything left to see?… Yes – Envy.
.
The same old story
Still drives the Holy See:
What brings them to their knees is:
Simony, lust and envy.
.
Is their anything monks won’t shun?… It’s Nuns.
What occupies their evenings?… Bickering.
Entangled they get in disputes?… With Prostitutes!
.
I would rather be mute
Than to utter hard truths:
The profession of monks is:
Nuns, bickering – and prostitutes.
.
Has the sugar run out?… It’s down.
Have we got better luck?… Now it’s up.
Has the treasury been fed?… They’re dead.
.
Cidade-Bahia has known
What happens to the sickest:
They fall ill, they get fever;
They’re down, and it’s up – now they’re dead.
.
Parliament don’t help?… It can’t.
It don’t have the power?… It won’t.
And if government tries?… It dies.
.
Who would think that such lies
noble parliament drives,
in predicament finds, and still:
it can’t, it won’t – and it dies.

.
Portuguese to English translation: Daniel Vianna

 . . .

Gregório de Matos
Juízo anatômico dos achaques que padecia o corpo da República em todos os membros, e inteira definição do que em todos os tempos é a Bahia
.
Que falta nesta cidade?… Verdade.
Que mais por sua desonra?… Honra.
Falta mais que se lhe ponha?… Vergonha.
.
O demo a viver se exponha,
Por mais que a fama a exalta,
Numa cidade onde falta
Verdade, honra, vergonha.
.
Quem a pôs neste rocrócio?… Negócio.
Quem causa tal perdição?… Ambição.
E no meio desta loucura?… Usura.
.
Notável desaventura
De um povo néscio e sandeu,
Que não sabe que perdeu
Negócio, ambição, usura.
.
Quais são seus doces objetos?… Pretos.
Tem outros bens mais maciços?… Mestiços.
Quais destes lhe são mais gratos?… Mulatos.
.
Dou ao Demo os insensatos,
Dou ao Demo o povo asnal,
Que estima por cabedal,
Pretos, mestiços, mulatos.
.
Quem faz os círios mesquinhos?… Meirinhos.
Quem faz as farinhas tardas?… Guardas.
Quem as tem nos aposentos?… Sargentos.
.
Os círios lá vem aos centos,
E a terra fica esfaimando,
Porque os vão atravessando
Meirinhos, guardas, sargentos.
.
E que justiça a resguarda?… Bastarda.
É grátis distribuída?… Vendida.
Que tem, que a todos assusta?… Injusta.
.
Valha-nos Deus, o que custa
O que El-Rei nos dá de graça.
Que anda a Justiça na praça
Bastarda, vendida, injusta.

Que vai pela clerezia?… Simonia.
E pelos membros da Igreja?… Inveja.
Cuidei que mais se lhe punha?… Unha
.
Sazonada caramunha,
Enfim, que na Santa Sé
O que mais se pratica é
Simonia, inveja e unha.
.
E nos frades há manqueiras?… Freiras.
Em que ocupam os serões?… Sermões.
Não se ocupam em disputas?… Putas.
.
Com palavras dissolutas
Me concluo na verdade,
Que as lidas todas de um frade
São freiras, sermões e putas.
.
O açúcar já acabou?… Baixou.
E o dinheiro se extinguiu?… Subiu.
Logo já convalesceu?… Morreu.
.
À Bahia aconteceu
O que a um doente acontece:
Cai na cama, e o mal cresce,
Baixou, subiu, morreu.
.
A Câmara não acode?… Não pode.
Pois não tem todo o poder?… Não quer.
É que o Governo a convence?… Não vence.
.
Quem haverá que tal pense,
Que uma câmara tão nobre,
Por ver-se mísera e pobre,
Não pode, não quer, não vence.

. . . . .


Gregório de Matos: Seeking Christ (Buscando a Cristo) / translation by Daniel Vianna

Gregório de Matos_xilogravura por Érick Lima

Gregório de Matos_xilogravura por Érick Lima

Gregório de Matos (1636-1696, Brazilian Baroque poet)
Seeking Christ
.
I run to your arms so sacred,
so bare on this holy cross;
Nailed open, there they greet me
– no, they do not chastise.
To your divine eyes, darkened,
that sweat, that blood, have opened;
To forgive me, have awoken,
and, closed, do not condemn.
.
To your nailed feet that don’t leave me,
To your blood, spilled, that cleanses me,
To your bowed head now calling me.
To your bared side I shall bind me,
I’ll fasten myself to those precious nails;
to be bound most firmly, and steady,
enduring as one – without fail.

.
Portuguese to English translation: Daniel Vianna

. . .

Gregório de Matos
Buscando a Cristo
.
A vós correndo vou, braços sagrados,
Nessa cruz sacrossanta descobertos
Que, para receber-me, estais abertos,
E, por não castigar-me, estais cravados.
.
A vós, divinos olhos, eclipsados
De tanto sangue e lágrimas abertos,
Pois, para perdoar-me, estais despertos,
E, por não condenar-me, estais fechados.
.
A vós, pregados pés, por não deixar-me,
A vós, sangue vertido, para ungir-me,
A vós, cabeça baixa, p’ra chamar-me
.
A vós, lado patente, quero unir-me,
A vós, cravos preciosos, quero atar-me,
Para ficar unido, atado e firme.
. . . . .


The Rwanda Genocide, twenty years later: 100 Days of photographs + poems by Wangechi Mutu and Juliane Okot Bitek

Wangechi Mutu_Day 44_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 44_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

The Rwanda Genocide (April to July, 1994) was one of the 20th century’s many horrific episodes in what has come to be known by the clinical phrase of “ethnic cleansing”. The Genocide was the culminating event in a civil war involving the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa peoples, and 800,000 people were killed in a mere three months. Both perpetrators and victims have had to re-build their traumatized nation, coming face to face with each other’s capability for depravity and also with that miraculous human need to acknowledge what happened – and to forgive.

When I tell you that the photographs of Wangechi Mutu are poems I honour her visual artistry in the highest way I know how: to give it the name of that uniquely human skill – poem-making – that I value above all else. At Day 100 she commenced with a moving image of a clay-caked woman whose eyes were – mercifully – closed. Other human figures followed. Why were they all women? Was it because it is mainly men who do these mass-killings worldwide? Then came photographs of limbs – hands, feet, bodies bagged – and these are piercingly close to “documentary” photography.
But she goes further still with images completely devoid of people or their “parts”. These may be the most powerful of all. Because of the hand-drawn number cards placed somewhere within each photograph, these person-empty pictures seem to indicate that something we cannot look upon has been left out. My mind wanders toward a hacked-up body dumped at a building site or an abandoned lot; by a rusty gate or in the loneliest corner of a concrete yard.
.
Juliane Okot Bitek happened to see Wangechi’s first Instagram picture, Day 100, from April 6th, 2014 – that being the 20th anniversary of the beginning of those awful events of The Genocide. And she responded as only a poet might do: to commit to an epic poem-making journey for 100 numbered poems. If Wangechi’s pictures are raw or allusive, Juliane’s poems are everything that words are most suited for: questioning/wondering aloud; feeling all feelings, wherever they go / thinking all thoughts, though they be inconclusive. This is the very core of poetry, and there is no other kind of language that can handle such horror and humanly touch all the marks: to speak of the un-speakable. It is Poetry alone that best honours suffering, loss, shame, responsibility.

Wangechi Mutu and Juliane Okot Bitek are both African-born. Each has lived far away from the land of her birth for a long time now – Wangechi in Brooklyn, New York, and Juliane in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Is it possible that the geographical distance each has achieved – from Kenya and Uganda respectively – both countries having felt seismic social effects from the terror of Rwanda’s Civil War – has helped them to turn Pain into Art? For this is, surely, one of the greatest goods of artistic achievement: to do something beautiful with our pain. These two artists – one a collagist and sculptor who is experimenting with photography for the first time, the other a poet who is creating epic poetry in real time – merge empathy, an imaginative rendering of the facts, and the search for meaning to create unique works-in-progress: call them 100 Days.
.
We invite our readers to scroll down through ZP May 2014 to read and reflect upon Juliane’s poems and to behold Wangechi’s photographs thus far. And to click on the links below and follow their journey through June and into July – until they have reached Day 1.

Alexander Best
Editor, Zócalo Poets
May 31st, 2014

. . .

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/kwibuka20?source=feed_text&story_id=624576410970511

http://www.julianeokotbitek.com

 

. . .

Juliane Okot Bitek
100 Days: a poetic response to Wangechi Mutu’s #Kwibuka20#100 Days

.

Day 44
A hundred days of shallow breathing interspersed with deep sighs
A hundred days zooming into nothing
A hundred days of years and years that morphed into decades
of life as a gift, of life as worth living
A hundred days on a hundred days-ing, we weren’t counting

It wasn’t as if after all those days
a veil would lift and it would have taken just those days, nothing more
It wasn’t as if after all those days
there was a chance that normal would morph back
as if all the seeds that had sprouted in those one hundred days
would un-sprout themselves into nothingness
.
Day 45
We watched as faith crumbled off the walls in dull clumps
We watched as prayers dissipated into clouds which then returned as drizzle to mock us
Although sometimes it rained
& sometimes it rained hard, as if the earth was sobbing
but it was never so – the earth remained dispassionate to our circumstances

Eventually our superstitions burst like bubbles
or floated away like motes in the light
There was nothing left to hold on to, not even time which stretched and then crunched itself wilfully
Cats and dogs roamed about, feral and hungry,
People crouched in the shadows, not all feral and all the time hungry.
At a half past all time, even decay stopped for a moment

Ours remains Eden, not even a spate of killing can change that.
.
Day 46
If truth is to be known in order to be acknowledged, then this is the truth that we know:
we know the numbers
we know the number of days
we know the circumstances
where the machetes came from and who wielded them
where the dotted line was signed
we know who fled
who advanced while chanting our names out loud
the names they called us
and the papers and airwaves on which these names can still be found

we know who claim to be the winners & the victims
we know where the markers are for where we buried the children
we know the cyclical nature of these things

the impossibility of knowing everything that happened
we know that the true witnesses cannot speak
and that those who have words cannot articulate the inarticulable

we know that there are those who died without telling what they knew
we know that there are those who live without telling what they know

we know that some people choose to tell and some stories choose to remain untold
.
Day 47
I remember how my sister used to look up when she remembered
Sometimes she would have a small laugh before she started to recall a story
Often she’d be laughing so hard at the reveries that we all started to laugh
Soon enough we were all laughing so hard because she was laughing
And then she laughed because we laughed
And the memory of that story dissolved into the laughter and became infused with it

My sister is not here anymore
I wonder if she remembers laughing
I wonder if she remembers anything

Wangechi Mutu_Day 48_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 48_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 49_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 49_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 50_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Wangechi Mutu_Day 50_Rwanda Genocide 20th anniversary

Day 48
So what is it to be alive today?

I no longer think about the hard beneath my feet
or the give of my body into sleep
or the way my skin used to dissolve so deliciously from touch

Is this what it is to become a haunt?
.
Day 49
There we were, lining up like frauds
There we were, receiving medals and commendations
like frauds
There we were, listening to speeches and reading the adorations
about us as heroes – like frauds
There we were
holding in ourselves, like frauds

All we did was stay alive
While many, many others died.
.
Day 50
This is the nature of our haunting:
silent witnesses & silence itself
neither revealing nor capable
of explication
of what any of that meant

What do we need nature for?
All it does is replicate its own beauty.
. . .


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