Lêdo Ivo

Lêdo Ivo Poems


On this day of burning heat, I'm waiting for snow.
I've been waiting for it always.
When I was a boy, I read Notes from the House of the Dead
and saw snow falling on Siberian steppes
and on the tattered coat of Fyodor Dostoevsky.
I love snow because it doesn't separate day from night
or distance heaven from the sufferings of earth.
It unites what's separate:
the footsteps of those condemned to darkened ice
and sighs of love vanishing in the air.
One has to have a fine-tuned ear
to hear the music of falling snow, something almost silent
like the touch of an angel's wing, assuming there are angels,
or the dying breath of a bird.
One shouldn't wait for snow the way one waits for love.
They are different things. It's enough to open our eyes to see the snow
falling on a deserted field. And it falls on us, cold white snow
that doesn't burn like the flame of love.
To see love our eyes do not suffice,
nor our ears, nor our mouth, nor even our hearts
that beat in the dark with the same sound
as snow falling on the steppes
and on the roofs of darkened hovels
and on the tattered coat of Fyodor Dostoevsky.
To see love, nothing suffices. Both winter cold and searing heat
keep it from us, from our open arms
and our tormented hearts.
Faithful to my childhood, I prefer to see snow
that unites heaven and earth, night and day,
rather than be a helpless prey to love,
love that is neither white nor pure nor cold as snow.


Sempre busquei a profusão das chuvas
e celebrei o excesso.

A porta que se abre à claridade do relâmpago
divide o dia em partes desiguais.
Mas entre a luz e a sombra há um espacço
onde o sonho e a vida acordada se juntam como dois corpos
separados das almas desunidas.
É a este lugar que retorno
quando a chuva cai em Maceió e derruba as folhas
dos cajueiros floridos.
Os goiamuns inquietos percebem nas locas a alteração do mundo
que oscila entre a lama e as raízes dos mangues
como duas cores do arco-íris.

Berço de tanajuras, patria ameaçada pelo trovão,
dunas sonâmbulas que só caminham à noite,
mar que umedece os lábios rachados da areia,
vento que dilacera o promontório,
longe de vós serei um exilado.


I always sought the profusion of the rains
and celebrated excess.

The door that opens on the clarity of lightning
divides the day into unequal parts.
But between the light and shadow there is a space
where dream and waking life join like two bodies
separated from their severed souls.
It is to this place that I return
when the rain falls in Maceió, dislodging the leaves
of the blossoming cashew trees.
The restless crabs notice in their tiny dens the changing of the world
that wavers between mud and mango roots
like two colors in a rainbow.

Cradle of tanajura ants, land threatened by thunder,
sleep-walking dunes that only walk at night,
sea that moistens the cracked lips of the sand,
wind that tears at the promontory,
far from you I'll be in banishment.


Para que pudéssemos atravessar o rio cheio de pedras
alguém, com um machado, subio até a floresta
e mudou árvores vivas em pranchas e mourões.

O outro lado é igual a este, na terra dividida.
Mas atravessamos a ponte, e nos segue a sombra
de alguém, semelhante a nós, que pensava unir

o que as águas separam, correndo entre pedras.


So we could cross the river filled with stones
someone, with an ax, went up into the forest
and turned the living trees to planks and stakes.

The other side is just like this, in this divided land.
But we cross the bridge, and the shadow of someone
follows us, someone similar to us, who wanted to unite

what the water separates, flowing amongst its stones.

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