Poems From The Portuguese
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Bénédicte Houart

(B. 1968)

Bénédicte allows the reader to have access to her voice’s hesitations and to the unfolding of the poems themselves, which usually achieve a surprise effect, successfully outwitting the reader’s expectations.

Bénédicte Houart was born in 1968 in Belgium. She has a MA in Philosophy and has worked as a university lecturer. She is currently a translator and a writer. She is also extensively involved in the theatre as an actor, singer, composer and dramatist.

Poetry books since 2000:

Reconhecimento (2005), Vida: Variações (2008), Aluimentos (2009), Vida: Variações II (2011)


women are the ones who

women are the ones who
make the onions weep
as if they´ve peeled their own lives
and discovered, while becoming rounder,
one body, their body
one life, their life,
and yet this was nothing
they could truly call their own
or perhaps they could, but merely
that drop of water that speckled
a corner of their aprons where
a colourful cloth flower had budded, a flower
that wasn’t burning there just the day before

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I’m just a little girl

I’m just a little girl
hurt for the sake of tradition
I know nothing about that
I like to play with my dolls
on the ground brushing their hair
I know almost all about that
one day, I’ll belong to a man, they say
whom I’ll call husband but
with him I’ll never play like
when I was happy before
they muzzle my sex for ever
and make me a nobody woman

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I am penelope no more

I am penelope no more
nor does ulysses return
my name changes night
by night to the taste
of my lovers’ tongues
in the day I change bed sheets
I sew seams
I rest my eyes
long ago I used to weave
to deceive the circle
that imprisoned me
now my name is I
I have no civil rights
in the cell that locks me up
I became free at last

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