Wednesday, November 5, 2014



By Eugenio de Andrade

Translated by Alexis Levitin

It’s urgent — love.
It’s urgent — a boat upon the sea.

It’s urgent to destroy certain words,
hate, solitude, and cruelty,
some moanings,
many swords.

It’s urgent to invent a joyfulness,
multiply kisses and cornfields,
discover roses and rivers
and glistening mornings — it’s urgent.

Silence and an impure light fall upon
our shoulders till they ache.
It’s urgent — love, it’s urgent
to endure.

Eugénio de Andrade was arguably Portugal’s best-known poet and won all of Portugal’s major literary awards: the prestigious Camões Prize, France’s Prix Jean Malrieu (1989), and the 1996 European Prize for Poetry. Marguerite Yourcenar has referred to “the well-tempered clavier” of his poems, and Spanish critic and poet Ángel Crespo has written that “his voice was born to baptize the world.”

Eugénio de Andrade’s poetry has always exhibited a carefully evoked simplicity. Through naked word and image, he strives to convey what he calls “the rough or sweet skin of things.” Distrustful of abstractions, he focuses on the world of matter, proclaiming a love for “words smooth as pebbles, rough as rye bread. Words that smell of clover and dust, loam and lemon, resin and sun.” The four classical elements of earth, water, air, and fire are never absent from his work, nor is the human body, whose sensuality and sexuality lie at the heart of Dark Domain  For this poet, proud to be called solar and pagan, the body itself is the final “metaphor for the universe.”

The above poem is simple, yet moving , and conveys a real sense of urgency and need for  creating more joy in this world through love.

Source:- Forbidden Words: Selected Poetry by Eugenio de Andrade. Translated by Alexis Levitin

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