Poems From The Portuguese
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Sérgio Godinho

(B. 1945)

Sérgio Godinho’s poetry swings between the quotidian and the transcendent, between a direct and transparent speech and a cryptic, harsh, often splintered one. His language keeps in mind a coherent individual, social and discursive body. In either register one senses a blade’s precision, a very fine thread weaving and un-weaving rhythms, poetry’s underground. “Messages yet to be opened” says one of his lines: they deserve to be opened.

Sérgio Godinho was born in Porto. He has been, since the 1970s, an important singer, lyricist and composer. He has composed music for films and theatre and has been involved in the staging and directing of several plays. He published his first poetry book in 2009.

Poetry books since 2000:

O sangue por um fio (2009)


What is it for

24 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

What is poetry for, my friend? It’s for us to inhabit
and where we are handed warnings and summonses
and go down the stairs
a sniffed key in our hand.
Rain or no rain
to open a box
we need five steps without history.

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Vital organs

I have to count on everything that’s inside –
lungs and sighs and brain and disappointment
functional intestines broadly speaking
kidneys and liver waiting for brief love
too much drink too quickly drunk
minimum consumption for maximum comfort.

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Night is day

One day
winter arrives
morning is unaccompanied.
Night is day in another world.
The same way the mother of pearls close,
the victories to come
are torn on the palms of our hands.
We didn’t choose them by chance
but by chance they were the ones we chose.

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Floating body

I respond to the winds
I stay still
let those who have no memory
be torn under the violent sun.
The body shall not resurface.
Just as it was
it disintegrated in slow fright
in the currents
it will be now unrecognisable.

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