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Rui Cóias

(B. 1966)

Rui Cóias poetry appeared in 2000, as a powerful and dense world, where real elements seem to float on a desolate landscape of silences and distances. The title of his first book, ‘The Geographer’s Function’, immediately signals the route of a journey whose spaces are shaped by time and memory and the landscape determines human actions.

Born and raised in Lisbon, Rui Cóias studied law at the University of Coimbra. He then returned to Lisbon to work as a lawyer for nine years, after which he left the profession. He is currently writing a PhD, after having studied Philosophy at a Lisbon university.

Poetry books since 2000:

A Função do Geógrafo (2000), A Ordem do Mundo (2005), Europa (2015)


where you too will come…

24 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

Where you too will come sighing in the ditches, even if yours is a famished voice
and if I see your eyes at dawn, lost over the fields, in shuddering places – I will return – « I
even on the waves of midday, along the contour of a cherry, if I see you, margarete, I «darken – «and darken
as the hair of dark-coloured violins darkens me, as
the wind darkens in the cold woods where we die, the alleys darken
the black milk we drink and drink darkens.
Whence you too will appear with the sublime finery of misfortune, even if your blood will curdle
and if in the evening, at the magic hour, I can glimpse your eyes reading galicia’s poems – I return – «I
even on the trains digging a tunnel through the air, if I see you, shulamith, I «darken – «and I darken
as the evening darkens me in the smaller hours, as
lines darken on faces, poems darken
as darkens the black milk we drink and drink.

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Today, at the hour the sun drips…

Today, at the hour the sun drips from the dry elm branches,
william sat next to me on the brakewater wall.
He adjusted his specs, turned towards the coastline, the most
visible from where we stood, in the direction of rosses point, and spoke:
‘what if I told you we love them and they don’t know?’
His gaze paused on the hills, their flat grasses leaning over the cliffs to the sea,
and followed their shadows, contemplating them in docile fantasy,
as on the mornings when, dispirited, he followed the drumcliffe mists.
‘What if I told you not to hand over your whole heart;
whoever offers his whole heart will end up with nothing’.
He bent slightly down, his hair covered his brow, just as it had been drawn by his father in the portrait,
his twenty something years slipped away, his face cracked, losing its angle
to reveal itself as the ruined entrails of a house with a colourful façade.
And at the time when the backyards were opened to the neighbours, in sligo,
where by chance the sea thickens the houses, nevertheless distinct, around the bay,
william confessed he had discovered nothing, he had mistaken everything and
all was a sham, no matter how often this was denied by soft lips.
Then he gave me his hand and stood up. He asked me to walk with him.
He took himself to the clearing where in his childhood he had scratched the earth for roots
and where on a stormy Sunday , while seeing no one, he had been pushed from behind.
I know who gave his whole heart and lost everything. But they don’t know,
they don’t imagine that from kiss to kiss they’ll be consumed.
Later, knowing, he left. Just as she had left, with the first
September rains when she went by the canal a couple of times,
shooed away the four birds, the four kisses from her shoulders.
He knew he had never followed the stone walls and the towering towers,
trailed the tributaries and the small forts of the devastated islands
without having left behind for a single day, among songs and presages,
her elm-tanning eyes, her birds on the shoulder.
And william who, as the years went by, became distinctly gentle, harmonious,
just days before he flanked the white square hinged door, as evening fell,
sat again with me like twenty odd years ago on the sligo bay,
at the time when from the other world across the sea, every seven years,
she would appear under the waves of the fabulous isles, on the sands of the enchanted land,
to hand over her heart so that the four birds could land on it
and they could kiss four times goodbye.

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Nothing exists…

Nothing exists that hasn’t had a beginning.
Even in the distance, a clear lit speck,
in territories stripped from all limits, on
sands that flow from unknown seas,
we only contemplate the extent of what we perceived.
If fields in livonia lead to fields in masuria,
if tiles are smoothed in tepid bath waters,
and further on graveyard follows graveyard, and
in their midst, inert in the lack of wind, the birch wood stands,
if the sun is the flame of the olive oil crumbling the bread
or the chipped lightening on the walls of helsingør,
if the death plot is everywhere the same,
be it in the santa maria flute or in the tallinn concertina
it is because we modulate in one place what has seeped from another.
Even unwillingly, or perhaps it’s the shadows on the move,
we weave no more than a row of chances and discretions
along a current which takes each one of us, separately,
to the most sensitive final passage.

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in the morning iridescence of the elms (…)

in the morning iridescence of the elms, between tomorrow’s trill and memory’s harness
between the forests’ nakedness and november’s furrow
grass and earth exhale the lifeless pearl, and the bells also, as long ago in Connemara
they leave a monstrance on the yew tree’s countenance – roots sunken

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How far…

How far, amidst the glades
when the soul delighted in vigorous thoughts and remained untouched
pierced by the useless golden flame
of the city of arcadia, I imperviously followed
the lonely birches across the sky.
And because youth is indifferent to us; because
of that love for the beautiful, through the night, submissively alone in its muteness,
life, so close to the ephemeral,
was that which the future stills ignores, deluding this future’s end.
But we are drawn to the young dead; we love
with contempt life’s briefness
till exhausted we stumble into deception. That life which, as a dark hedge,
reconciles the spirit with the heart – the latter
because it is the last, the utmost, the voice scraped off another voice, this
heart, our heart, which doesn’t reflect on what is born
drops on the road an overwhelming rose, and judges love
in the same spirit.

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