Poems From The Portuguese
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José Agostinho Baptista

(B. 1948)

José Agostinho Baptista’s poetry, a destiny fulfilled with fervour and dedication, walks hand in hand with an ever present introspection which questions both the poet and God. When the poet walks the valley of shadow, that valley will have such an intense light, it will be wondrous.

José Agostinho Baptista was born in the island of Madeira. Besides being a poet, he is a renowned journalist and translator of the works of major poets, such as Whitman, Yeats, Tennessee Williams, Tagore, David Malouf among many others. He lives in Lisbon.

Poetry books since 2000:

Biografia (2000), Afectos (2002), Anjos caídos (2003), Esta voz é quase o vento (2004), Quatro luas (2006), Filho pródigo (2008), O Pai, a Mãe e o Silêncio dos Irmãos (2009), Caminharei pelo Vale da Sombra (2011)

Poems

It is my beloved’s silver

21 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

It is my beloved’s silver.
I’ll gently say good-bye,
and tell her not to cut the thorns of the first
life-climbing rose.
And when I walk through the valley of the shadow,
she’ll come down to the small harbour, taking off her sandals,
dive into the sea,
repeating the names of all who left,
of all who loved her,
hesitating at the tavern door,
seeing my empty place, the violin on the table, a
silence greater than the slowness of the sea shores,
and she’ll consider everything, in each sound, in each tear, in
nothing.
She’ll turn her back.
We have never been of this world, I’ll finally tell her, as I close
the last door.

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There

There,
bending over the washing, you sang inside yourself the song
of sad girls,
those torn from youth,
like freshly cut marigolds in grandmother’s vase,
on the table.
My son,
my blue enigma of southern skies, you said.
So much tenderness, so much clear, golden
honey,
exposed to a storm of sudden flames.
How can I look for you now, in the eternity of ashes,
among the roots, still bleeding.
How can I see you once more
re-incarnate in the young bride betrayed by the sea,
next to the mourning women.

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DOG

We grew old side by side, my friend,
my companion of winding paths of thistles
and nettles,
guardian of white flocks and
of the solitary rose of my days,
we stood silent together, my friend,
my companion of maculate voice,
and now I’ll no longer be able to take you from this shore
to another,
where you would, tenderly, soothe my wounds.
I know I’ll soon bid you farewell.
I dread knowing how the hours of a house
will be,
forever empty, after you.

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BLESSED IS

Blessed is the fruit of your womb,
mother,
my house of silence,
built in the mountains.
Blessed were the thimbles of your art, the
needles of your fire,
when you embroidered with threads of silver and sorrow
the shawls of murmured prayers,
the faint music of the shells.
I’m still breathing in your water,
your deepest water,
I still call you when the wolves
look for me
when terror strikes the eyes of pure
beasts.
Blessed is our daily dwelling
and the beautiful wind-bird
singing for the last time on the branches
of the naked tree.
Blessed are you forever,
mother of the high lands,
my lady of irredeemable mourning.

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