3 poems by Dora Manuel Culabo translated by Landa Wo


Far away, I feel what is out of reach

A distant hand placed close to me

A nearby possession which merges

the nothing that concerns everything

absence of clarity           

like a cloud of silence

I still feel

the ambiguous question of the pleasant wind

Blowing North to South, East to West

a mellifluous yet rueful contiguous organism 

as melodic honey 

or a date

as a South wind blowing

breathing in the perspiration of the glaciers

that ice which continually and slowly melts 

feeling flames coming from the West

yet this stream gently blows to the East

feeling still and further

an organism shaped by drops and drops of pleasure 

acutely horizontal and vertical

East or an East which the Northern sutra nurtures

yet in me is felt

the near

the far away

the present. 


Sinto o longe a distância
mão distante instalada de perto
posse  próxima que mescla
o nada que incide tudo 
ausência nitidez
onde nuvem no silêncio 
Sinto ainda
questão ambígua do vento aprazível
Soprar norte-sul, este- oeste
corpo tangente melífluo pesaroso
mel mélico
ou tâmara
vento soprar sul a corpo
respirar suor do gozo glacial
gelo que derrete vagaroso e continuo
sentir chamas do oeste
soprar ainda corpo suavemente a este
sentir ainda e mais
corpo moldado a pingos e pingos de prazer
horizontal e vertical agudo
este ou este que o norte sutra nutra 
sente-se ainda
o perto do distante em mim
o longe
o presente.


it said:
write a book

a book which roams about your body

and then it touches you!

it touches you with words

like a vocal summoning 

to my haughty body

it will tell you how 

you satiate yourself with love

where the detached

moves down

moves down by the umbilical cord along a plumb line

with a raindrop gone from your body

that which performs the anointing of our body and soul


write a book

which will roam your soul

calmly torn apart from this unction in your soul

as an endless river converging in us.


escreva um livro
um livro que vague no teu corpo
e que a seguir te toque!
toque-te com palavras
assim como convocas a boca
ao meu corpo soberbo
dir-te-á como saciares-te de amor
onde a distante
desce pelo cordão umbilical a fio-de-prumo
com uma gota de chuva perdida do teu corpo
aquele que faz a unção de nossa carne e alma
escreva um livro
que vagara na tua alma
dilacerada com calma desta unção na alma
como um rio inúmero convergindo em nós.


it isn’t only a void

that pants

that breathes

it speaks

perhaps it affronts without words

the favourable

vexing without insults

a feeling of longing

bathing the body under the tap

the palm which I crave

fleshy lips bleeding by an axe

tongue grooved about dates

looking at the triangle from an angle

which measures one hundred and eighty degrees

with homesickness in tears of blood

which cry over pleasure walls

which rasp visceral tenderness

the lust of the darkness and of the silence which I fear I love


não é apenas um vazio
que suspira 
transpira voz
talvez ultrajar sem voz
o promissor
vexar sem impropérios
uma sensação de saudade 
banhar a torneira o corpo
a mão palma que almejo
a machado sangrar lábios carnudos
em tâmaras língua sulcada
olha a ângulo o triângulo
que mede cento e oitenta graus
a saudades em lágrimas de sangue
que choram de prazer paredes
que raspam doçura visceral
volúpia do escuro e do silêncio que temo amo

Dora Manuel Culabo lives in Nampula. A poet from Mozambique with recent publications in Mallarmargens – revista de poesia e arte contemporânea. Dora is an English teacher originally from Niassa in the city of Lichinga.

Landa Wo is an award-winning poet member Société des Poètes Français. With roots in Angola and Cabinda, Landa wo is an Afro – French poet from the diaspora. Politically engaged his work deal with prominent issues of social justice, discrimination and cultural strife. He can be found on Twitter: @wo_landa 

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  1. LOVE good translations of ‘foreign’ poems. It brings a new way of seeing and feeling, taking us out of our anglo-saxon rhythm and ‘common grounds’. Thank you for these gentle (however painful) poems.

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