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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Eavan Boland - And Soul

My mother died one summer—
the wettest in the records of the state.
Crops rotted in the west.
Checked tablecloths dissolved in back gardens.
Empty deck chairs collected rain.
As I took my way to her
through traffic, through lilacs dripping blackly
behind houses
and on curbsides, to pay her
the last tribute of a daughter, I thought of something
I remembered
I heard once, that the body is, or is
said to be, almost all
water and as I turned southward, that ours is
a city of it,
one in which
every single day the elements begin
a journey towards each other that will never,
given our weather,
fail—
       the ocean visible in the edges cut by it,
cloud color reaching into air,
the Liffey storing one and summoning the other,
salt greeting the lack of it at the North Wall and,
as if that wasn't enough, all of it
ending up almost every evening
inside our speech—
coast canal ocean river stream and now
mother and I drove on and although
the mind is unreliable in grief, at
the next cloudburst it almost seemed
they could be shades of each other,
the way the body is
of every one of them and now
they were on the move again—fog into mist,
mist into sea spray and both into the oily glaze
that lay on the railings of
the house she was dying in
as I went inside

Seán Hewitt - Dryad

I remember her covered in snow in a field
where each dead stalk of wildflower was thick
with frost. The sky was pink in the hawthorns,
 
the day held on the light-edge of breaking.
A woman carved from the bole of an oak,
her feet (if she had any) buried in the winter’s
 
shedding weight. Whoever had turned her
from the tree had given her an orb
which she held in both hands, close to the gentle
 
curve of her face. And she stood there
by the half-rotten stile off Broad Lane,
head bowed, as though waiting to greet us
 
and offer the frozen circumference of a new
world. Years ago, our school had planted
the woods behind her, when I was eight or nine,
 
and now each tree ages alongside us.
Every time I go back, I see a part
of my life laid out, still growing in a field
 
by the old village. I used to come here
often, at eighteen or so, with men at night
and it was strange to pass her as we stumbled
 
in the undergrowth and into the woods
like deer plummeting through the wet branches.
And I think now of all the men forced outside
 
after clearing-out, into the dark spaces of towns,
how they walk in vigil to woodlands and old
estates, to the smell of the day settling. Once,
 
I came here with a man whose whole body
was muscled, as though he too had been carved
from a single trunk of wood. I pretended
 
all the time to be a man like him,
answering each lie in a deep, alien voice.
I think I was afraid he would kill me,
 
and walked a few steps ahead, hearing
him moving through the sodden grass,
pulling his feet from the bramble-vines.
 
We passed the woman without comment,
though she stood there in her cloak of wood,
the globe held in the lathed green of her hands.
 
Here was so unlike the places other people went,
a place without doors or walls or rooms.
The black heavy-leafed branches pulled back
 
like a curtain and inside a dark chamber
of the wood, guarded, and made safe.
The bed was the bed of all the plants
 
and trees, and we could share it. And then
the kneeling down in front of him, keeping
my secrets still in the folds of night, trying
 
not to shake in the cold, and the damp floor
seeping up. I remember the cold water
spreading in the capillaries of my jeans.
 
As I looked up, the sky hidden under a rain
of leaves, each tree stood over me
in perfect symmetry with his body.
 
Each was like a man with his head bent,
each watching and moving and making slow
laboured sighs. I came back often,
 
year on year, kneeling and being knelt for
in acts of secret worship, and now
each woodland smells quietly of sex,
 
not only when the air is thick with it,
but in winter too when the strains
are grounded and held against the earth,
 
and each time I half-expect
to meet someone among the trees
or inside the empty skeleton
 
of the rhododendron, and I wonder if I have ruined
these places for myself, if I have brought
each secret to them and weighed the trees
 
with things I can no longer bear. But then
what is a tree, or a plant, if not an act
of kneeling to the earth, a way of bidding
 
the water to move, of taking in the mouth
the inner part of the world and coaxing it out.
Not just the aching leaf-buds
 
in spring, the cloud of pollen, or in autumn
the children knocking branches for the shower
of seed, but the people who kneel in the woods
 
at night, the woman waiting by the gate, offering
to each visitor a small portion of the world
in which they might work for the life of it.

Seán Hewitt - Ghost

i.

Waking, close to morning but still
a shuttered, metal dark in the room:
a sound inside my dream, only a whimper
at first, then becoming human, a howl
raised in the street outside, left unanswered
then raised again. In my boxers, shivering
by the single-paned window, but seeing no one
among the black shapes of the parked cars
or hedges, I went out half-dressed: hands shaking,
front door unlocked then pushed open,
and by the column of the porch, under a cone
of orange light, a young man slumped,
drunk, sobbing like his whole life
was unfurling into sound.

 
ii.

And now, I am reminded of one afternoon,
home from school, my father digging out
the root of a conifer in the garden – I saw him
look up, suddenly alert, leave by the back gate
into the alley behind the terraces, and return
panicked with a boy in his arms. I recognised him,
about my age, from school, by his dreadlocks,
his turquoise streak of hair; but now lolling
under his own weight, his wrists draining
over my father’s mudded jeans and the patio tiles.
I knew, even then, the rumours about him;
thought as we wrapped and pinned torn sheets
around his opened veins, how we might share,
once the truth was out, a bond, an elective blood.

 
iii.

Nights later, I only half-slept, expecting
at any moment to hear someone again outside,
as though time might be caught in a loop,
the same boy walking the mapped route
along the dark streets at the same hour
to my door. Again, I unshuttered the window,
stood waiting to see him come, barefoot, maybe,
down the path. Each night, no sign, until I thought,
perhaps, it was only me, or a dream of myself,
asking nightly to be greeted at the threshold,
allowed back into the cold room of my life.
But then, in each of us, a wound must be made
or given – there is always the soul waiting
at the door of the body, asking to be let out.

Sylvia Plath - For a Fatherless Son

You will be aware of an absence, presently,
Growing beside you, like a tree,
A death tree, color gone, an Australian gum tree ---
Balding, gelded by lightning--an illusion,
And a sky like a pig's backside, an utter lack of attention.
But right now you are dumb.
And I love your stupidity,
The blind mirror of it. I look in
And find no face but my own, and you think that's funny.
It is good for me
To have you grab my nose, a ladder rung.
One day you may touch what's wrong ---
The small skulls, the smashed blue hills, the godawful hush.
Till then your smiles are found money.

Ilya Kaminski - Praise

...but one day through the gate left half-open there are yellow lemons shining at us and in our empty breasts these golden horns of sunlight pour their songs.
-- Montale

 

Time, my twin, take me by hand
through the streets of your city;
my days, your pigeons, are fighting for crumbs -

*

A woman asks at night for a story with a happy ending.
I have none. A refugee,

I go home and become a ghost
searching the houses I lived in. They say -

the father of my father of his father of his father
was a prince
who married a Jewish girl

against the Church's will and his father's will and
the father of his father. Losing all,

eager to lose: the estate, ships,
hiding this ring (his wedding ring), a ring

my father handed to my brother, then took. Handed,
then took, hastily. In a family album

we sit like the mannequins of school-children

whose destruction,
like a lecture, is postponed.

Then my mother begins to dance, re-arranging
this dream. Her love

is difficult; loving her is simple as putting
raspberries
in my mouth.

On my brother's head: not a single
gray hair, he is singing to his twelve-month-old son.

And my father is singing
to his six-year-old silence.

This is how we live on earth, a flock of sparrows.
The darkness, a magician, finds quarters

behind our ears. We don't know what life is,
who makes it, the reality is thick

with longing. We put it up to our lips
and drink.

*

I believe in childhood, a native land of math exams
that return and do not return, I see -

the shore, the trees, a boy
running across the streets like a lost god;

the light falls, touching his shoulder.

Where memory, an old flautist,
plays in the rain and his dog sleeps, its tongue

half hanging out;
for twenty years between life and death

I have run through silence: in 1993 I came to America.

*

America! I put the word on a page, it is my keyhole.
I watch the streets, the shops, the bicyclist, the
oleanders,

two women strolling along the water front.
I open the windows of an apartment

and say: I had masters once, they roared above me,
Who are we? Why are we here?

the tales they told began with:
"mortality," "mercy."

A lantern they carried still glitters in my sleep,
confused ghosts who taught me living simply.

-- in this dream: my father breathes
as if lighting a lamp over and over. The memory

is starting its old engine, it begins to move
and I think the trees are moving.

I unmake these lines, dissolving in each vowel,
as Neruda said, my country

I change my blood in your direction. The evening
whispers
with its childlike, pulpy lips.

On the page's soiled corners
my teacher walks, composing a voice;

he rubs each word in his palms:
"hands learn from the soil and broken glass,

you cannot think a poem," he says,
"watch the light hardening into words."

*

I was born in the city named after Odysseus
and I praise no nation

but the provinces of human longing:
to the rhythm of snow

an immigrant's clumsy phrase
falls into speech.

But you asked
for a story with a happy ending. Your loneliness

played its lyre. I sat
on the floor, watching your lips.

Love, a one legged bird
I bought for forty cents as a child, and released;

is coming back, my soul in reckless feathers.
O the language of birds

with no word for complaint! -
the balconies, the wind.

This is how, while darkness
drew my profile with its little finger,

I have learned to see past as Montale saw it,
the obscure thoughts of God descending

among a child's drum beats,
over you, over me, over the lemon trees

Derek Mahon - Afterlives

     (for James Simmons)

1

I wake in a dark flat
To the soft roar of the world.
Pigeons neck on the white
Roofs as I draw the curtains
And look out over London
Rain-fresh in the morning light.

This is our element, the bright
Reason on which we rely
For the long-term solutions.
The orators yap, and guns
Go off in a back street;
But the faith doesn’t die

That in our time these things
Will amaze the literate children
In their non-sectarian schools
And the dark places be
Ablaze with love and poetry
When the power of good prevails.

What middle-class shits we are
To imagine for one second
That our privileged ideals
Are divine wisdom, and the dim
Forms that kneel at noon
In the city not ourselves.


2

I am going home by sea
For the first time in years.
Somebody thumbs a guitar
On the dark deck, while a gull
Dreams at the masthead,
The moon-splashed waves exult.

At dawn the ship trembles, turns
In a wide arc to back
Shuddering up the grey lough
Past lightship and buoy,
Slipway and dry dock
Where a naked bulb burns;

And I step ashore in a fine rain
To a city so changed
By five years of war
I scarcely recognize
The places I grew up in,
The faces that try to explain.

But the hills are still the same
Grey-blue above Belfast.
Perhaps if I’d stayed behind
And lived it bomb by bomb
I might have grown up at last
And learnt what is meant by home.

Derek Mahon - Lives

        (for Seamus Heaney)

First time out
I was a torc of gold
And wept tears of the sun.

That was fun
But they buried me
In the earth two thousand years

Till a labourer
Turned me up with a pick
In eighteen fifty-four.

Once I was an oar
But stuck in the shore
To mark the place of a grave

When the lost ship
Sailed away. I thought
Of Ithaca, but soon decayed.

The time that I liked
Best was when
I was a bump of clay

In a Navaho rug,
Put there to mitigate
The too god-like

Perfection of that
Merely human artifact.
I served my maker well —

He lived long
To be struck down in
Denver by an electric shock

The night the lights
Went out in Europe
Never to shine again.

So many lives,
So many things to remember!
I was a stone in Tibet,

A tongue of bark
At the heart of Africa
Growing darker and darker . . .

It all seems
A little unreal now,
Now that I am

An anthropologist
With my own
Credit card, dictaphone,

Army-surplus boots
And a whole boatload
Of photographic equipment.

I know too much
To be anything any more;
And if in the distant

Future someone
Thinks he has once been me
As I am today,

Let him revise
His insolent ontology
Or teach himself to pray.

Derek Mahon - Everything is Going to be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Carl Phillips - Only Portions of the Map Still Legibly Survive

Having had their moment or, if luckier, the better part
of a day in the sun as proverbed, it was time to move on.
Some died, not because of this,
                                                       but as if so. Some retreated
into the memory of their earlier triumphs, others chose
not so much to remember as to fill those in who had never
known of said triumphs, having been born so much past
all of that—what can history be
                                                       expected to mean,
honestly, to those who have no history, yet, of their own?
But the waning of influence is not the same as a loss of power—
it doesn’t have to be, said the wisest who, understanding this,
found their trust where they’d always put it, in what by
sheer definition is all but impossible to argue with, or
against: detachment. Look at us now,
                                                                  entering our days
no differently than we did before: pity in one hand,
for the few who with time may come to deserve it; and
in the other hand, an indifference that,
                                                                   with enough
practice, detachment leads to, though that was never
the plan, not on our part, an indifference we’ve wielded
so long we forget it’s
                                    there, almost, until something
reminds us: gulls scattering before us, say, the way
the letters that spell loneliness can scatter, eventually,
as if weary with meaning—with having had to mean—
from what loneliness really deep down feels like:
magnetic, unignorable; why,
                                                   the waves themselves bow down.