Saturday, June 23, 2012


My Eureka moment occurred more than once as I was translating Brazilian Portuguese poetry into English. It was the moment when I found the exact word in English that could still fit into the rhyme, rhythm and meaning form of the original. My only published book of translations (published by the department of Portuguese Studies at University of California at Santa Barbara, was “As Evidencias” by Jorge de Sena.  It was a coherent though sometimes mysterious book of twenty-one sonnets, all inter-related .  Here is an example:
       Seacoast anchors the dawn-illumined mist,
       and in its heart the ltttle birds that trill
       are crackle of the waves, docile and still
       at water's edge, not seen and only guessed.

       Green in the distance on the gilded slope
       the hills, sliding through hours of night and day,
       hover suspended in the freshness they
       knew when from shadow they took solid shape.

       Beside me now you breathe. Upon your breast
       as, in deep dark dens, the animals lay
       themselves to sleep (as shown on pictured pages)
       dries, serene, an amorous vein at rest.
       One after other must be dried each day
       in the fragile web of which they weave the ages.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For the father of my children

              1917 - 2009
 Should I forget my name -
        and yours -

and shuffle, groping, speechless
through corridors half seen,
my search will not be aimless
nor my mind quite empty.

My toothless cry
will be your forgotten name.

Deaf ears will listen for your voice.

Driving my shambling steps will be
an ache of longing,
encompassing, intense,
for an essence that is you
and for your arms that held me close
     so long ago
             or was it yesterday?