Poems From The Portuguese
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Vasco Graça Moura

(B. 1942)

In the field of poetry, Vasco Graça Moura is the author of a most singular oeuvre, marked by a dialogue with tradition and by the richest prosodic labour. His unusually scholarly poetry employs, not always explicitly, inter-textual contexts of different music and voices. It also includes themes representing areas generally less touched by male poets: the universes of home and affections. Justly recognised nationally and internationally, he is certainly one of the greatest Portuguese poets.

Vasco Graça Moura was born in Porto. He sadly died in Lisbon in April 2014. He studied Law and was involved in politics and cultural organisations all his life. Besides being a poet he was also a columnist, an essayist, a novelist and a translator of major poetry works, having translated, among many others, Dante’s Divina Commedia and the complete sonnets of Shakespeare. He published his first poetry book in 1963 followed by many others. His poetry has been translated into several languages.

Poetry books since 2000:

Testamento de viagem (2001), Variações metálicas (2004), Laocoonte, rimas várias, andamentos graves (2005), O Caderno da Casa das Nuvens (2010), Poesia Reunida vol 1 e vol 2 (2012)

Poems

wild is the wind

1 Outubro, 2018By bitcliq

a hedge of hydrangeas bursts in blue
setting this summer’s frame for your portrait
and against the wide green of the leaves, in the wind, is the waving
of the veil, the waving of the veil folding lightly around your waist,
and your skin takes in the luminous serenity of the morning
like a beauty treatment, a beneficial balm destined for no one else.
and i think: the ways i’ve wandered and you
were here, in this house in the clouds, breathing inside its modulated
shelter. be it by destiny, fate, chance, fortune,
you have been here, since yesterday, in the dusk, between the softness
of shadows that spread through the valley and the severe
music out of which words are begotten. ah, were i to die
now, i would just say, self-entranced, like Hadrian,
o, gentle, meek, vagrant soul,
suspend the hourglass and stay a moment longer,
that i may contemplate her and end at peace,
amid the stoic’s resignation, a tremor of tenderness,
the grave shine of her gaze, the blue china of the hydrangeas
and the smell of rosemary, in the ides of august of two thousand
and nine, when the wind becomes wilder.

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whirl

ah, the great
shadows of music
spreading through the afternoon!
you danced in my dreams
and your body rose
in a whirl of scents
as did the voluptuousness
of the slender palms
in the wind
making the light swing
in zigzags
over my eyelids
and it was pure movement,
a cadenza of being
that modelled your body
among the lemon trees

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tristan and iseult

tears used to come to my eyes
whenever i heard louis armstrong singing
st. james infirmary, that funeral march
to which i’ve already alluded, a long time ago, so sombre, so poignant,
so defenceless and sad. i’ve spoken of this before and
now it comes to me again, i don’t quite know why,
at this darkening hour, like whispers of pollen dust
falling from the clouds. and i know it makes me
feel as if a held my heavy heart and
a bunch of flowers, a bunch
of fragile conjunctions of cyclamen
and furtively moistened petals, so pale
and bluish, so soaked in time and bad luck,
in this husky rhythm in step with the end of love:
so cold, so sweet, so fair,
make way, make way, wherever they may be
there’s never been such love,
crepuscular iseult, forsaken tristan,
both dying to no avail.

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on a boat on the river

on a boat on the river
on a boat
up river i ask you
not to leave tomorrow,
not to leave
this river minho,
not to desert
the trail of the boat
the agile foams,
the wind passing
through your hair,
the sun on your face,
or me, who looks
into your eyes, pleading.
are there people on the bank?
most likely, i don’t know.
are there sails, engines,
woods, islands?
are there water skiers?
rocks, dangers,
shadows in boega*?
is the current strong?
what do i know. i know
i’m asking you to stay
another day and i do not,
do not want you to go.

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in the root of dreams

i know the olive tree has been there
since the beginning of the world, inhabiting time
and intertwined with time, waiting for you.
i know the clouds are darkening in lilac and decide
to go on their slow rounds along the almost imperceptible
borders of sunset. i know you feel it must be so.

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