Poems From The Portuguese
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Vítor Nogueira

(B. 1966)

Vítor Nogueira’s poetry presents an extraordinary assurance in rhythm and vocabulary which, together with an intelligent assembling of his idea of a book (as a cohesive and minutely sequenced unit), leads to the assertion that he can be envisaged as one of the most important poets of his generation.

Vítor Nogueira was born in Vila Real, a town in the northeast of Portugal, where he still lives and works in cultural management.

Poetry books since 2000:

Senhor Gouveia (2006), Bagagem de mão (2007), Comércio tradicional (2008), Mar largo (2009), Quem diremos nós que viva? (2010), Este é o meu Corpo, antologia de poemas sobre o pão (2013)

Poems

SEEDS

1 Outubro, 2018By bitcliq

Two paths crossed the pine wood,
astonishingly precise directions, animals
I never saw again. While the crops
were ripening on the fields, there were charms
hanging from the trees and quick-silver to treat
certain ailments, a vital piece of equipment.
There were sunflowers surrounding the house and the scarecrows
everlasting words preventing me
from going mad. And there was a wall
which had to be jumped over, and the glorious morning
of the climb, the science of the great migrations.

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NIGHT

Gestures have changed, and so has the lighting.
We manage to hide behind ourselves.
Night, as always, is good for waiting.
What do we live off after all? What do we die of?

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HAT

The message is subtle:
if his hands weren’t busy,
he would have taken off his hat as he entered the shop.
He therefore accepts my help with
his carrier bags (careful,
the eggs are at the bottom).
As usual, he looks for
cheaper brands. That’s life,
sometimes we’re lucky and get
what we want. Then again,
contrary to what they say,
high street shopping is like gold-mining
if you know where to dig.
Well, people with whom we’ve never
had a serious conversation. In any case,
more often than not, we do for each other
things that we could hardly
put into a contract.
Does herein lie our survival,
even without forgiveness?
Let’s not talk about such complexity.
Morning is already leaning over
lunchtime. We must all go home,
it’s as simple as that. My friends,
your coats. The wind is sharp today,
but we’ve already known worse.

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ENDS

We are lost and we don’t know it.
Learning with human beings takes
longer. Houses are identified,
but people aren’t. How do you know the right way?
“In this house the great writer Eça de Queiroz
started his literary life”.
Distracted by the plaque, I who only had one cigarette
lit it up by the filter. In every world
of each universe, bad luck is almost always
a question of perspective. Two men
see the same bird flying. One is the one
writing this poem, an ember taken from the fire.
I think I’ve even seen this: two ends
of a cigarette, two faces of one single man.

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CURTAIN

It was winter and we were thirsty.
Perhaps out of fear, that way we have
of being faithful to ourselves.
We staggered to the depths of Lisbon
which that day was to be a house,
once the property of a Jew.
Birds flitted in a room without people,
at the far end was the window, in blinding light.
We hid behind a curtain,
peering sideways from the window
into the memory of our common past.
Afterwards, stupidly, we discussed
poetry. There were five of us. We decided
to split into groups of four.
For some reason I was on my own.

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THESEUS WITHOUT THE MINOTAUR

13 Julho, 2018By bitcliq

As in any other labyrinth, these street corners
only make sure that there are no certainties
on the road to the future. But that I knew already
on the other side of the mountains where it’s common
to feel spied on when walking through
the most discreet pine forest.
Lisbon has never been as I had once imagined it.
And nevertheless I come here on the customary
peregrination, having however no idea what I am to pray for.
Indecisions of faith and of its minute leaver
which, inordinately, we call heart.

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Rua Diário de Notícias

We can hardly move
with so much music.
We are, therefore, here
to serve an exact purpose.
We look like generals
on horses.
Here’s the battlefield
where defeat awaits us:
the street corners that wind
till our last yawn
and people listening
to their own story
in the songs.
Music, not time,
can heal certain wounds.

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