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.
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)