Two Poems from ‘Consecration of the Wolves’ by Salgado Maranhão, translated by Alexis Levitin

COMO UM RIO 3

 

Só agora avistei meus domínios:

 

a aldeia perdida

 

 entre o sonho

 

e o mar.

 

 

Só agora;

 

arrastando lendas, povos

 

e farrapos. E o coração:

 

esta cidade aberta ao vento.

 

 

Eis um telhado erguido

 

sobre letras; eis

 

o desejo com a alma

 

                        dos cavalos.

 

 

(Ó raio ensanguentado!).

 

 

Entre o cais e o fim,

 

geme a moldura do poente.

 

 

Em mim que descendo

 

de incêndios (o estalo

 

no tálamo),

 

      como se o sol

 

rasgasse a asa

 

em minha boca.

LIKE A RIVER 3                                                                            

 

Only now have I caught sight of my domain:

the village lost

                          between a dream

and the sea.

 

Only now;

dragging legends, people,

and rags. And the heart:

that city open to the wind.

 

Behold a rooftop raised

upon letters; behold

desire with the soul

                               of a horse.

 

(Oh, blazing light bathed in blood).

 

Between the quay and the end,

moans the molding of the setting sun.

 

In me who descend

from fires (a crackling

in the thalamus),

                           as if the sun

were tearing its wings

in my mouth.

 

COMO UM RIO 8

 

Não choro pelo barro

 

que meus pés não viram. Choro

 

por ti, pelos teus ângulos

 

de carne e fogo.

 

 

Eu que tenho a cara virada

 

aos ancestres, amo

 

a ti com o furor da terra

 

em chamas.

 

 

Tua áfrica está repleta

 

em mim; é dela que acordas

 

minhas transparências; é

 

dela que alago tuas vinhas

 

e teus mistérios.

 

 

Tuas minhas áfricas

 

são meu refúgio desgarrado –,

 

onde o amor ruge

 

com as panteras.

 

 

Assim quebro-te as ânforas

 

nuas,

 

         como quem parte um cristal

 

para torná-lo em ouro.

LIKE A RIVER 8                                                                

 

I’m not crying for the clay

my feet cannot recognize. I’m crying

for you, for your angles

of flesh and flame.

 

I, my face turned

towards my ancestors, love

you with the rapture of the earth

in flames.

 

Your africa is replete

in me: it is through her you awaken

my transparencies; it is

through her I flood your vineyards

with mysteries.

 

Your, my africas

are my abandoned refuge–,

where love roars

with the panthers.

 

That is how I break your naked

amphoras,

               like someone splintering crystal

to turn it into gold.

About the contributor

Salgado Maranhão and Alexis Levitin
Salgado Maranhão, winner of all of Brazil's major poetry awards, toured the United States five times, presenting his work at over one hundred colleges and universities. In addition to fourteen books of poetry, he has written song lyrics and made recordings with some of Brazil’s leading jazz and pop musicians. Alexis Levitin published forty-six books in translation, mostly poetry from Brazil, Portugal and Ecuador. Translations of Salgado Maranhão include: Blood of the Sun, Tiger Fur, Palavora, Mapping the Tribe, and, in 2021, Consecration of the Wolves. He published Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm and Eugénio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words with New Directions.

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