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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Mark Strand - Breath

when you see them
tell them i am still here,
that i stand on one leg while the other one dreams,
that this is the only way,

 

that the lies i tell them are different
from the lies i tell myself,
that by being both here and beyond
i am becoming a horizon,

 

that as the sun rises and sets i know my place,
that breath is what saves me,
that even the forced syllables of decline are breath,
that if the body is a coffin it is also a closet of breath,

 

that breath is a mirror clouded by words,
that breath is all that survives the cry for help
as it enters the stranger's ear
and stays long after the world is gone,

 

that breath is the beginning again, that from it
all resistance falls away, as meaning falls
away from life, or darkness fall from light,
that breath is what i give them when i send my love

Mark Strand - Seven Last Words

1
the story of the end, of the last word
of the end, when told, is a story that never ends.
we tell it and retell it — one word, then another
until it seems that no last word is possible,
that none would be bearable. thus, when the hero
of the story says to himself, as to someone far away,
'forgive them, for they know not what they do,'
we may feel that he is pleading for us, that we are
the secret life of the story and, as long as his plea
is not answered, we shall be spared. so the story
continues. so we continue. and the end, once more,
becomes the next, and the next after that.

 

2
there is an island in the dark, a dreamt-of place
where the muttering wind shifts over the white lawns
and riffles the leaves of trees, the high trees
that are streaked with gold and line the walkways there;
and those already arrived are happy to be the silken
remains of something they were but cannot recall;
they move to the sound of stars, which is also imagined,
but who cares about that; the polished columns they see
may be no more than shafts of sunlight, but for those
who live on and on in the radiance of their remains
this is of little importance. there is an island
in the dark and you will be there, i promise you, you
shall be with me in paradise, in the single season of being,
in the place of forever, you shall find yourself. and there
the leaves will turn and never fall, there the wind
will sing and be your voice as if for the first time.

 

3
someday some one will write a story set
in a place called the skull, and it will tell,
among other things, of a parting between mother
and son, of how she wandered off, of how he vanished
in air. but before that happens, it will describe
how their faces shone with a feeble light and how
the son was moved to say, 'woman, look at your son,'
then to a friend nearby, 'son, look at your mother.'
at which point the writer will put down his pen
and imagine that while those words were spoken
something else happened, something unusual like
a purpose revealed, a secret exchanged, a truth
to which they, the mother and son, would be bound,
but what it was no one would know. not even the writer.

 

4
these are the days when the sky is filled with
the odor of lilac, when darkness becomes desire,
when there is nothing that does not wish to be born.
these are the days of spring when the fate
of the present is a breezy fullness, when the world's
great gift for fiction gilds even the dirt we walk on.
on such days we feel we could live forever, yet all
the while we know we cannot. this is the doubleness
in which we dwell. the great master of weather
and everything else, if he wishes, can bring forth
a dark of a different kind, one hidden by darkness
so deep it cannot be seen. no one escapes.
not even the man who saved others, and believed
he was the chosen son. when the dark came down
even he cried out, 'father, father, why have you
forsaken me?' but to his words no answer came.

 

5
to be thirsty. to say, 'i thirst.' to be given,
instead of water, vinegar, and that to be pressed
from a sponge. to close one's eyes and see the giant
world that is born each time the eyes are closed.
to see one's death. to see the darkening clouds
as the tragic cloth of a day of mourning. to be the one
mourned. to open the dictionary of the beyond and discover
what one suspected, that the only word in it
is nothing. to try to open one's eyes, but not to be
able to. to feel the mouth burn. to feel the sudden
presence of what, again and again, was not said.
to translate it and have it remain unsaid. to know
at last that nothing is more real than nothing.

 

6
'it is finished,' he said. you could hear him say it,
the words almost a whisper, then not even that,
but an echo so faint it seemed no longer to come
from him, but from elsewhere. this was his moment,
his final moment. "it is finished," he said into a vastness
that led to an even greater vastness, and yet all of it
within him. he contained it all. that was the miracle,
to be both large and small in the same instant, to be
like us, but more so, then finally to give up the ghost,
which is what happened. and from the storm that swirled
a formal nakedness took shape, the truth of disguise
and the mask of belief were joined forever.

 

7
back down these stairs to the same scene,
to the moon, the stars, the night wind. hours pass
and only the harp off in the distance and the wind
moving through it. and soon the sun's gray disk,
darkened by clouds, sailing above. and beyond,
as always, the sea of endless transparence, of utmost
calm, a place of constant beginning that has within it
what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand
has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
to that place, to the keeper of that place, i commit myself.

Mark Strand on Edward Hopper.

Pennsylvania Coal Town (1947)


The moment of his looking up seems more than one of distraction. It has the feel of transcendence, as if some revelation were at hand, as if some transforming evidence were encoded in the light. ... It is like an annunciation. The air is stricken with purity. And we are involved in a vision whose source is beyond us, and whose effect is difficult to embrace. After all, we view the scene from the shade. And all we can do from where we stand is meditate on the unspoken barriers between us.

 

Via American Reader.

Mark Strand - A Piece of the Storm

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That's all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
"It's time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening."

 

Via loverofbeauty.

Mark Strand - Lines for Winter

tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. and you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
and if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Mark Strand - The Story of Our Lives

1.
We are reading the story of our lives
which takes place in a room.
The room looks out on a street.
There is no one there,
no sound of anything.
The trees are heavy with leaves,
the parked cars never move.
We keep turning the pages, hoping for something,
something like mercy or change,
a black line that would bind us
or keep us apart.
The way it is, it would seem
the book of our lives is empty.
The furniture in the room is never shifted,
and the rugs become darker each time
our shadows pass over them.
It is almost as if the room were the world.
We sit beside each other on the couch,
reading about the couch.
We say it is ideal.
It is ideal.


2.
We are reading the story of our lives,
as though we were in it,
as though we had written it.
This comes up again and again.
In one of the chapters
I lean back and push the book aside
because the book says
it is what I am doing.
I lean back and begin to write about the book.
I write that I wish to move beyond the book.
Beyond my life into another life.
I put the pen down.
The book says: "He put the pen down
and turned and watched her reading
the part about herself falling in love."
The book is more accurate than we can imagine.
I lean back and watch you read
about the man across the street.
They built a house there,
and one day a man walked out of it.
You fell in love with him
because you knew that he would never visit you,
would never know you were waiting.
Night after night you would say
that he was like me.
I lean back and watch you grow older without me.
Sunlight falls on your silver hair.
The rugs, the furniture,
seem almost imaginary now.
"She continued to read.
She seemed to consider his absence
of no special importance,
as someone on a perfect day will consider
the weather a failure
because it did not change his mind."
You narrow your eyes.
You have the impulse to close the book
which describes my resistance:
how when I lean back I imagine
my life without you, imagine moving
into another life, another book.
It describes your dependence on desire,
how the momentary disclosures
of purpose make you afraid.
The book describes much more than it should.
It wants to divide us.

 

3.
This morning I woke and believed
there was no more to to our lives
than the story of our lives.
When you disagreed, I pointed
to the place in the book where you disagreed.
You fell back to sleep and I began to read
those mysterious parts you used to guess at
while they were being written
and lose interest in after they became
part of the story.
In one of them cold dresses of moonlight
are draped over the chairs in a man's room.
He dreams of a woman whose dresses are lost,
who sits in a garden and waits.
She believes that love is a sacrifice.
The part describes her death
and she is never named,
which is one of the things
you could not stand about her.
A little later we learn
that the dreaming man lives
in the new house across the street.
This morning after you fell back to sleep
I began to turn the pages early in the book:
it was like dreaming of childhood,
so much seemed to vanish,
so much seemed to come to life again.
I did not know what to do.
The book said: "In those moments it was his book.
A bleak crown rested uneasily on his head.
He was the brief ruler of inner and outer discord,
anxious in his own kingdom."

 

4.
Before you woke
I read another part that described your absence
and told how you sleep to reverse
the progress of your life.
I was touched by my own loneliness as I read,
knowing that what I feel is often the crude
and unsuccessful form of a story
that may never be told.
"He wanted to see her naked and vulnerable,
to see her in the refuse, the discarded
plots of old dreams, the costumes and masks
of unattainable states.
It was as if he were drawn
irresistably to failure."
It was hard to keep reading.
I was tired and wanted to give up.
The book seemed aware of this.
It hinted at changing the subject.
I waited for you to wake not knowing
how long I waited,
and it seemed that I was no longer reading.
I heard the wind passing
like a stream of sighs
and I heard the shiver of leaves
in the trees outside the window.
It would be in the book.
Everything would be there.
I looked at your face
and I read the eyes, the nose, the mouth ...

 

5.
If only there were a perfect moment in the book;
if only we could live in that moment,
we could being the book again
as if we had not written it,
as if we were not in it.
But the dark approaches
to any page are too numerous
and the escapes are too narrow.
We read through the day.
Each page turning is like a candle
moving through the mind.
Each moment is like a hopeless cause.
If only we could stop reading.
"He never wanted to read another book
and she kept staring into the street.
The cars were still there,
the deep shade of trees covered them.
The shades were drawn in the new house.
Maybe the man who lived there,
the man she loved, was reading
the story of another life.
She imagine a bare parlor,
a cold fireplace, a man sitting
writing a letter to a woman
who has sacrificed her life for love."
If there were a perfect moment in the book,
it would be the last.
The book never discusses the causes of love.
It claims confusion is a necessary good.
It never explains. It only reveals.

 

6.
The day goes on.
We study what we remember.
We look into the mirror across the room.
We cannot bear to be alone.
The book goes on.
"They became silent and did not know how to begin
the dialogue which was necessary.
It was words that created divisions in the first place,
that created loneliness.
They waited
they would turn the pages, hoping
something would happen.
They would patch up their lives in secret:
each defeat forgiven because it could not be tested,
each pain rewarded because it was unreal.
They did nothing."

 

7.
The book will not survive.
We are the living proof of that.
It is dark outside, in the room it is darker.
I hear your breathing.
You are asking me if I am tired,
if I want to keep reading.
Yes, I am tired.
Yes, I want to keep reading.
I say yes to everything.
You cannot hear me.
"They sat beside each other on the couch.
They were the copies, the tired phantoms
of something they had been before.
The attitudes they took were jaded.
They stared into the book
and were horrified by their innocence,
their reluctance to give up.
They sat beside each other on the couch.
They were determined to accept the truth.
Whatever it was they would accept it.
The book would have to be written
and would have to be read.
They are the book and they are
nothing else.

 

Via loverofbeauty.

Mark Strand - Sleeping with one eye open

Unmoved by what the wind does,
The windows
Are not rattled, nor do the various
Areas
Of the house make their usual racket --
Creak at
The joints, trusses and studs.
Instead,
They are still. And the maples,
Able
At times to raise havoc,
Evoke
Not a sound from their branches'
Clutches.
It's my night to be rattled,
Saddled
With spooks. Even the half-moon
(Half man,
Half dark), on the horizon,
Lies on
Its side casting a fishy light
Which alights
On my floor, lavishly lording
Its morbid
Look over me. Oh, I feel dead,
Folded
Away in my blankets for good, and
Forgotten.
My room is clammy and cold,
Moonhandled
And weird. The shivers
Wash over
Me, shaking my bones, my loose ends
Loosen,
And I lie sleeping with one eye open,
Hoping
That nothing, nothing will happen.

Mark Strand - Moontan

The bluish, pale

face of the house
rises above me
like a wall of ice

 

and the distant,
solitary
barking of an owl
floats toward me.

 

I half close my eyes.

 

Over the damp
dark of the garden
flowers swing
back and forth
like small ballons.

 

The solemn trees,
each buried
in a cloud of leaves,
seem lost in sleep.

 

It is late.
I lie in the grass,
smoking,
feeling at ease,
pretending the end
will be like this.

 

Moonlight
falls on my flesh.
A breeze
circles my wrist.

 

I drift.
I shiver.
I know that soon
the day will come
to wash away the moon's
white stain,

 

that I shall walk
in the morning sun
invisible
as anyone.