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jeudi 15 novembre 2012


The Young poet of Cote Sauvage, one day said to me:
The waves are coming to say Hello to the Earth..

It reminded me of my favourite woman poet, Cecilia Meireles, who is considered the greatest woman poet in the Portugese language.
O choro vem perto dos olhos
para que a dor transborde e caia.
O choro vem quase chorando
como a onda que toca na praia.

Descem dos ceus ordens augustas
e o mar chama a onda para o centro.
O choro foge sem vestigios,
mas levando  naufragos dentro.

There is a quest for love, but not of saudade. Nothing mystical but personal statement, separating herself from what she sees, nature does not lead to any self realization, but she emphasizes the present, the reality and the actual presence of the moment.
Our tears well up in our eyes
-only so can our grief overflow-
our tears well up, like the weeping
of a wave as it touches the shore.

Stern orders come down from the heavens:
the sea calls the wave to its heart.
Our tears bear the shipwrecked away;
Not a trace do they leave as they part.

About ten years ago, there was a used bookstore along the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables in Miami, now gobbled up by some shop selling yuppie Tupperware? I was aware of Cecilia Meireles from a poem I had read elsewhere in translation and when I saw a book of hers at this bookstore, I was more than happy.
I searched at the few places where my books are kept and I found my copy amidst my books in a warehouse and have carried it with me since then.
Search for love, but at the same time detachment, I made a note to myself, it is very yogic in concept. It would be nice to love without attachment like the real Yogis do, but how does Cecilia do it?
At the same time wanting solitude!
All of us who are in love are constantly reminded of our own mortal condition when love for another person is involved, you want to be free and at the same time but the human condition dictates the love that without love, there is an emptiness of silence. How to free yourself of this imprisonment? Cecilia thinks you can know the essence of love, the abstraction only when you free yourself.
Infinity and Solitude, which defines her poems, over and over again..
Porque pensar em qualquer coisa,
se tudo esta sobre a minha alma:
vento, flores, aguas, estrelas,
e musicas de noite e albas?
The escape is an escape into nature and to be one with its forces.
Why need I think about anything?
when everything rests upon my soul?
wind, flowers, water, stars,
the music of the night and dawns?

I tried to look up her books on line, there are some poems in translation but none of her books are easily available or amazon sells them for hundreds of dollars! Strangely enough the community library near the house here told me they could order and get it for me in a few days so that I can borrow it, so that it will be ready when I arrive for my next visit?
If you don't look, you cannot find, stop waiting for things to happen…I continued reading her poems from the second hand book I had.
When I was reading the following verse, something stirred in my heart.
Ir falando contigo, e nao ver mundo ou  gente.
E nem sequer t ever—mas ver eterno o instante.
In speaking to you and see neither world nor people,
Nor even to see you-but to see the moment in its eternity.
The present, the presence of it, I thought of Mindfulness of the Yogis and also what Kabat-Zinn had been talking about..
How come a Carioca born in the early part of last century at a time when women were restricted severely in Portugese society (that is why there are no great women writers in Portugese.. no George sand, no Emily Dickinson!) who went on to become to be identified with Modernism of Portugese Literature.
The title of the poem I read next caught my eye: Taj Mahal, Poemas escritos na India.
Here she accords timelessness once to something man made, not the timeless of sea, the sky, the infinity of space…
Tudo celeste, inumano, intocavel,
Substraindo-se ao olhar, as mais.
All heavenly, all untouchable,
fleeing from the glance and the hands.

Looking for her biography, I could read that she was fascinated by India and that she had translated Tagore and written about Gandhi. Many a critic agreed that the influence is much more oriental in her poems than the Lusitania of her ancestors.

A shepherdess of clouds, with empty face
I follow after figures of deceit,
keeping night watches on the eternal plains
which turn and turn beneath my unshod feet. 

(from 'Destiny,' translated by L.S. Downes)

It was good for me to discover this oriental influence on Cecilia Meireles, my favourite woman poet (favourite male poet will always be Pablo Neruda)


I sing because the moment exists
And my life is complete.
I am not gay, I am not sad:
I am a poet.

So, I send this message to the Little Poet of Cote Sauvage…On our next meeting, I will read a poem of Cecilia Meireles to you, in Portugese,