Poems From The Portuguese
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Margarida Vale de Gato

(B. 1973)

This poet’s name brings to my mind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in a Valley of Lusitanian romanticism, and her poetry has echoes of Mário Cesariny. It shows a careful use of vocabulary, an eviscerated boldness regarding what may or may not be the outcome of mixing other languages with the reality of our Portuguese daily life and the knowledge, well diluted in a finery of irony, of someone who can “spit out sin’s stones”. And well done her, that’s what I say.'

Margarida Vale de Gato was born in Vendas Novas. She is a PhD in North American Literature and Culture and teaches in the University of Lisbon. She is a literary translator from French and English into Portuguese of both poetry and prose.

Poetry books since 2000:

Mulher ao Mar (2010)

Poems

Woman Overboard

21 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

MAYDAY I break out: the hard war endures;
empty is the vessel from which I part –
it slacks in the deep, bored by the sway,
a leaking slit, a lack – not in the least
a cork pail with pores made to drift.
I specify: it’s terracotta, it cracks
and I am sparse in dense fluidity.
Too late, I know, help will come, if ever
so feebly I flash in obscurity
and the writing does not stay on water;
here I lie: hardly an erasure, less
than a seam the wave will slowly stitch
a slumbering quilt over where I sink.

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Resentful Women

Maybe deep down I believe
human beings will be pretty
much the same everywhere, but then
I figure women are the more.
The things we share,
the dustcloth, the tablecloth, the clothesline,
the shopping list, the marinade, the stove,
the basin, we cook our pans and rinse’em,
our errands, our bags, our eggs.

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Minimum Conditions

olf packs are barred entrance to this bush;
a change of skin must precede the eating
of fire. With this I am not boasting
of particular talents or hush-
ed-up wonders, semi-flawless flattery:
a to-do list, utter loneliness, bristle
cigarette lighter flint, a pistol,
a gadget almost out of battery

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Intercity

we ride down the backs of hills inside
the earth eating eucalyptus eating haystacks
spitting out the wind spitting out time spitting out
time
time the trains gulp the opposite way going
the opposite way stealing our time my love

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Acknowledgement

dear Sylvia Plath one day I knew I would write
about you I collected you or at least I knew your type
figured you out at once in the photograph
lovely pin-up with the coy under-lip who (in case it were
wondered what you’d become in life) would wittily reply
I’ll be a poet and famous I don’t wish to be I will
be as if saying were already achieving as
if the given word could not
reconsider. mistake.

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