The Words of the Captives

Image: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


three poems


I don't believe that philologists dig into languages ​​and letters just for a salary
Like a miner who mines tourmaline to take it to market and who hides
The glittering gold of avid and envious glances.
The philologist, deep down inside, has a devotion, a great passion.
He searches for past human life, the voice, the song of the anonymous, the dead words
A sentence full of a slave's pain and blood or an expression of power
Of a king when he mercilessly orders the execution of captives.
Naturally, the philologist will also examine very carefully the words
Of the captives. How each one expressed themselves, in tears, when they learned of the royal order.
Every word written in a fragment, for the sound is lost forever
It will be scrutinized by the prospector of ancient lives. What was erased from a palimpsest
It will be called back to life, as far as possible, as the restorer does when removing
The patina of time on a piece of furniture or a work of art, the verdigris on copper,
All those things that years and time produce and that fascinate us
Because they represent a part of life, of the praxis of men and animals
That has already passed, but that we feel as a part of us, because we understand
Perfectly, even the most insensitive, that we come from there, from that obscurity
That we are its continuation, we are the present and one day we will be the past,
In turn covered with verdigris, patina and dust.
Philologists write dictionaries and grammars of extinct voices
They seek to restore, capture again the moments of enchantment
Through the words, the texts, the alphabets engraved by the calamus,
Resurrect the lyrics, the erased texts and emotions.
That is the function of philologists. That's why they are great poets.
Even if they don't write poetic texts, they dig them up
And they present us again to the ecstatic contemporaneity.


The Daseins

In Bahia there are some Daseins who dream a lot, laugh a lot,
They trust that Oxalá will give them
And Senhor do Bonfim will bring
Use colored ribbons as a talisman
They ask all the saints for blessings and want to forget
The chains and the whips that brought them from Africa, across the seas
Can't hear a tambourine they're gonna dance
Can't hear a mandolin they're gonna sing
They throw flowers to Iemanjá, so that the Queen can cast blessings and enchantments
In the lives that toil on land and sea

In Germany there are some melancholy Daseins
Who have seen the Titanic sink so many times
The dream of many lives to wither still in bud
A Edelweiss be brutally blown off in a mid-air explosion
That there is a discouragement in dreaming.

Life is better not to be too optimistic, they think.
There is no longer any certainty that Senhor do Bonfim will bring
Nor that the joy and happy life of Oxalá will come.
So they reflect and hesitate, doubt and try,
They write thoughts and theories, write essays
About this Whansinn called life, or being, or existence.
And if Minerva's owl deciphers the arcane sphinx,
All the Daseins of the world flock to hear your judgments
And leaf through your books,
Seeking that they bring you meaning and an anchorage in the calm bay.

They also work tenaciously filling their magazines with trimmings,
Keeping pantries full, accumulating provisions,
For they know, they can never forget
What they went through and what they can go through again.
They don't have many stimuli to sing, laugh and beat tambourine,
Past experiences no longer allow for this resourcefulness.
The suffering that generations suffer leaves hoarse traces in the voice,
Hands a little shaky and fantasies shaken.
And illusions are for beginners, they think.

When they sing, they sing restrained, elegant poems, without outbursts.
His poetry says things like this: Manchmal geschiet is in tieferNacht
For there many see the world only from the side of the night
Ignoring the glint that still flickers on the sun's side.
They also sing verses like Sag mir wo die Blumensind
Because there, but not only there, everywhere,
Sometimes there are times when the flowers disappear
And the Daseins wander, disheartened, in search of a flowery road.



They say that romantics are those who only like very beautiful things.
And just very beautiful, nothing short of ravishing
Like Grace Kelly, sublime in a chiffon Dior or blue silk taffeta,
Silvana Mangano, in Death in Venice, aristocratic,
With tulle veil embroidered in renaissance,
Alain Delon Oh! Alain Delon, as Rocco, the naive and pure,
Gorgeous Rocco, in Rocco and his brothers.
Romantics, remember that in real life,
The beautiful also seek only other beautiful ones,
The beautiful also only like the beautiful.
The less beautiful fall in love with the more beautiful, Pasolini.
And if you are not beautiful, it is certain that you will suffer,
In vain you will kiss hands, drag yourself to your feet.
If you don't have control over your romantic feelings,
You will pass by the gutter, take sips and sips of cachaça or vermouth,
All in vain, if you are not beautiful too.
You bound me without any chains, you hold me without using your arms
Or hands, who will defend me from your beauty? Michelangelo.
No one will hear your sobs or follow your steps
When at dawn, drunk, you cross the square, stumbling,
With an immense desire to cry.
No idol or beautiful angel, dressed in Armani, strong, slender, with beautiful thighs
Will put warm arms around your neck
Or the warm lips on your cold lips when you wake up on a park bench
Chilled out, mad with passion and desire, rejected by some handsome demigod.
You can get to that point.
Yes, rather, look for a humble bar, with simple, common people, like you.
Surely soon a man will appear, not exactly handsome but manly, or a woman,
Also not especially beautiful or splendid diva, but delicate, friendly,
Which will welcome you.
Will keep you company.
You'll talk about silly, simple, fun things.
With whom will you spend the night and watch shooting stars.
With whom you will have rest without contempt and humiliation.

* Jose Gomes He is a physician and holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Faculdade de São Bento.

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