Drummond-se! Brazilian Poetry for Foreigners

Today in Brazil is the National Day of Poetry and we choose Carlos Drummond the Andrade (1902-1987) to be our “special guest” to celebrate this date.🙂

drummond statue

Drummond’s statue – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Drummond was born in Itabira, a tinny village in Minas Gerais and he was probably the most influential Brazilian poet of the 20th century. Son of farmers of Portuguese ancestry, Drummond studied in the city of Belo Horizonte and later with the Jesuits at the College de Anchieta, Nova Friburgo in Rio de Janeiro, from where he was expelled for “mental insubordination.”😛 Back in Belo Horizonte, he began his career as a writer with the Diary of Minas, whose readers included followers of the  modernist movement in the State of Minas Gerais.

His popularity has been credited because a great part of his poetry (especially after lyrical maturity) has acquired an impressive capacity for the translation of ideas, transforming his particular troubles into a tool for universal communication. Though his earliest poems are formal and satirical, Drummond quickly adopted the new forms of Brazilian modernism that were evolving in the 1920s, incited by the work of Mário de Andrade (to whom he was not related).

Drummond was known as a creator of images, his works have everyday life and the world as themes, with verses that focus on the individual, homeland, family, friends, and social issues, as well as questions about existence, and about his own poetry.
He wrote hundreds of poems, but also essays and short stories, besides more than 30 books, including those for children. Several of his works were translated into many languages such as English, Spanish, Italian, French,  German, Swedish and others.
He translated to Portuguese the works of several authors like Balzac (Les Paysans, 1845; The Peasants), Choderlos de Laclos (Les Liaisons dangereuses, 1782), Marcel Proust (Le Fugitive, 1925 , García Lorca ( Doña Rosita, the soltera o el lenguaje de las Flores, 1935) Francois Mauriac (Thérèse Desqueyroux, 1927) and Molière (Les Fourberies de Scapin, 1677).
But nothing better than read some of his poems to understand the soul of his poetry, the beauty of Brazilian literature. Enjoy them here, in Portuguese and English versions😉 HAPPY POETRY’S DAY!
Carlos-Drummond-de-Andrade-Escrevendo
 
POEMS
Non-reasons of love

I love you because I love you
You don’t have to be a lover
and not always know how to be one.

I love you because I love you
Love is a status of grace
and it is not payable

Love is given freely
it is sowed in the wind
in the waterfall, in the eclipse
Love runs from dictionaries
and several regulations.
I love you because I don’t love
Enough or too much me
Because love is not swapped
nor conjugated nor beloved.

Because love is love for nothing,
happy and strong in itself.

Love is Death’s cousin,
and of the death, winner
Even if they kill it (and they kill)
in every moment of love.

*****************************************************

As Sem Razoes do Amor

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Eu te amo porque te amo.
Não precisas ser amante,
E nem sempre sabes sê-lo.
Eu te amo porque te amo.
Amor é estado de graça
E com amor não se paga.

Amor é dado de graça
É semeado no vento,
Na cachoeira, no eclipse.
Amor foge a dicionários
E a regulamentos vários.

Eu te amo porque não amo
Bastante ou demais a mim.
Porque amor não se troca,
Não se conjuga nem se ama.
Porque amor é amor a nada,
Feliz e forte em si mesmo.

Amor é primo da morte,
E da morte vencedor,
Por mais que o matem (e matam)
A cada instante de amor.

**************************************************************
To wake, to live
How to wake up without hurt?
Restart without horror?
My sleep carried me
to that kingdom where life is inexistent
and I remain inert without passion.
How to repeat, day after day,
the incomplete fable,
to bear the likeness of all rough things
of tomorrow with the harsh things today?
How to protect myself from wounds
that tear in me the events,
any event
that resembles the earth and its purple
madness?
And the one more wound inflicted by myself
every single hour – torturer
of the innocent that I am not?
No one answers, life is cruel.
*************************************************************
Acordar, viver
Carlos Drummond de AndradeComo acordar sem sofrimento?
Recomeçar sem horror?
O sono transportou-me
àquele reino onde não existe vida
e eu quedo inerte sem paixão.

Como repetir, dia seguinte após dia seguinte,
a fábula inconclusa,
suportar a semelhança das coisas ásperas
de amanhã com as coisas ásperas de hoje?

Como proteger-me das feridas
que rasga em mim o acontecimento,
qualquer acontecimento
que lembra a Terra e sua púrpura
demente?
E mais aquela ferida que me inflijo
a cada hora, algoz
do inocente que não sou?

Ninguém responde, a vida é pétrea.

*********************************************************

José?
What now, José?
The party’s over,
the lights are off,
the crowd’s gone,
the night’s gone cold,
what now, José?
what now, you?
you without a name,
who mocks the others,
you who write poetry
who love, protest?
what now, José?
You have no wife,
you have no speech
you have no affection,
you can’t drink,
you can’t smoke,
you can’t even spit,
the night’s gone cold,
the day didn’t come,
the tram didn’t come,
laughter didn’t come
utopia didn’t come
and everything ended
and everything fled
and everything rotted
what now, José?
what now, José?
Your sweet words,
your instance of fever,
your feasting and fasting,
your library,
your gold mine,
your glass suit,
your incoherence,
your hate—what now?
Key in hand
you want to open the door,
but no door exists;
you want to die in the sea,
but the sea has dried;
you want to go to Minas
but Minas is no longer there.
José, what now?
If you screamed,
if you moaned,
if you played
a Viennese waltz,
if you slept,
if you tired,
if you died…
But you don’t die,
you’re stubborn, José!
Alone in the dark
like a wild animal,
without tradition,
without a naked wall
to lean against,
without a black horse
that flees galloping,
you march, José!
José, where to?
**********************************************************

José

E agora, José?
A festa acabou,
a luz apagou,
o povo sumiu,
a noite esfriou,
e agora, José?
e agora, você?
você que é sem nome,
que zomba dos outros,
você que faz versos,
que ama, protesta?
e agora, José?

Está sem mulher,
está sem discurso,
está sem carinho,
já não pode beber,
já não pode fumar,
cuspir já não pode,
a noite esfriou,
o dia não veio,
o bonde não veio,
o riso não veio,
não veio a utopia
e tudo acabou
e tudo fugiu
e tudo mofou,
e agora, José?

E agora, José?
Sua doce palavra,
seu instante de febre,
sua gula e jejum,
sua biblioteca,
sua lavra de ouro,
seu terno de vidro,
sua incoerência,
seu ódio – e agora?

Com a chave na mão
quer abrir a porta,
não existe porta;
quer morrer no mar,
mas o mar secou;
quer ir para Minas,
Minas não há mais.
José, e agora?

Se você gritasse,
se você gemesse,
se você tocasse
a valsa vienense,
se você dormisse,
se você cansasse,
se você morresse…
Mas você não morre,
você é duro, José!

Sozinho no escuro
qual bicho-do-mato,
sem teogonia,
sem parede nua
para se encostar,
sem cavalo preto
que fuja a galope,
você marcha, José!
José, para onde?

(Adapted from Wikipedia)

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