Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Letter To Stalingrad - Poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade


After Madrid and London, there are still great cities.
The world hasn't ended, for amidst the ruins
other men appear, the faces darkened by dust and gun powder
and the wild breath of freedom
opens their chests, Stalingrad,
their chests that burst and fall
while others, avengers, rise.
The poetry escaped from the books, they are now in newspapers.
The telegrams from Moscow repeat Homer.
But Homer is old. The telegrams sing a new world
which we, in the darkness, ignored.

We found it in you, destroyed city,
in the peace of your dead but not conformed streets.
In your breath, heavier than the explosion of bombs,
in your cold wish to resist.
To know you resist.
That while we sleep, eat and work, you resist.
That when we open the morning paper your name (in hidden
gold) will be firm on the headlines.
At cost of thousands of men, tanks and planes, but was worth it.
To know that you wake, Stalingrad,
upon our heads, our preventions and our confusing
and distant thoughts
give an immense comfort to a desperate soul
and doubtful heart.
Stalingrad, miserable pile of ruin, yet radiant!
The beautiful cities of the world stare at you in surprise and
Weak, in front of your dreadful power;
greedy, in your splendour of rescued marbles and rivers not
the poor and careful cities, once glorious, defeated
without fight,
learn with you the movement of fire.
Also they can wait.
Stalingrad, so many hopes!
What flowers, crystals and songs your name pour over us!
What happiness blooms of your houses!
In one of them, only a stair full of corpses remains;
in others the gas pipe, the faucet, a child's bath.

There are no books to read, nor theatres open
not work in the factories,
everyone died, mutilated, the last defended black
pieces of wall,
but the life in you is stunning and hops like insects in the sun,
o my crazy Stalingrad!
The long distance I seek, smell the bloody
touch the dismembered forms of your body,
walk alone in your streets where there are loose hands
and broken watches,
I feel you like a human creature, and what are you, Stalingrad,
but that?
A creature that will not die, that will fight
against the sky, the water, the metal; the creature fights,
against millions of arms and engines, the creature fights,
against the cold, the hunger, the night, against the death
the creature fights
and wins.
The cities may win, Stalingrad!
I think of the victory of the cities, that for now is only
smoke rising from the Volga.
I think of the healing of the cities, that will love and defend themselves
against everything.
On the ashy soil where cadavers decay
the great City of tomorrow will restore its Order.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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