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October 15, 2004

Quinta (actually, sexta, very early in the morning)


Tudo muito simples


o café recém-coado / o cheiro de pão quente / com manteiga / mais um gol de Ronaldo na TV / a de quebra, o céu claro ainda azul.


seria uma tarde perfeita / não houvesse o morto na casa / ao lado / e o choro das crianças abafando / o cantar dos passarinhos.


~Márcia de Souza Leão Maia


Everything so simple


the coffee just brewed / the smell of warm bread / with butter / another goal by Ronaldo [Brazilian soccer star] on TV / and even the clear sky is still blue.


it would be a perfect afternoon / if not for the death in the house / next door / and the cries of the children smothering / the singing of the birds.


I copied this poem from the bus on my way to class yesterday.  The municipal government sponsors a “Poems on the bus” program in which every public bus has four poems posted on various windows.  It’s a neat program; when I’m in the mood for something philosophical, all I have to do is look up to one of the poems as I ride to/from class or downtown.


This particular poem struck me because it is so representative of how I quite often feel here–or anywhere, for that matter.  As I soak in the warm sun, breathe the perfumed air near the primavera trees, enjoy a scrumptuous meal at a cute restaurant, I often catch myself in the midst of my pleasure and wonder if it’s fair for me to be enjoying the city so much when thousands who live here can’t.  Sure, they can enjoy the sun and the smell of the city’s flowering trees–but not without a much heavier weight on their shoulders than I carry on mine, which enables me to travel with a carefree bounce in my step while others haul their employer’s groceries home for them, or their wares to sell along the streets downtown, or items they’ve salvaged from the garbage of the middle class.


Yet here’s another poem I came across in a book I’ve been reading; it’s representative of another thought I often have:


Se as coisas são / inatingíveis / Ora…não é motivo para não querê-las / Que tristes os caminhos se não fora a presença / Distante das estrelas.


~Mário Quintana


If things are / unattainable / Now…that’s not a reason to not want them / How sad the paths would be if not for the distant / presence of the stars.


That is, I can take comfort in my dream that one day everyone will have the nourishment, security, and love that we need to live comfortable lives, knowing that I am doing my best to work bit by bit towards this goal every day.

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From → Brazil, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. the poems are really beautiful, cori, thanks for posting them
    and so funny that we`re both finding such awesome community in capoiera!  i think the group here in managua is so beautiful, and diverse and chill as well— our time doing capoiera is one of my favorite times here…
    anyway keep it up, one day we will jogar

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