Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Where Not Long Ago We Talked - Poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

It is an old
piano, belonged
to a grandmother, dead
in another century.
And it plays and it cries and it sings
but refuses in anger to filter the minimum
chord, if wounded
by the hand of a girl.

O broken piano, Jesus!
Its people are dead,
its pleasure buried,
their destiny fulfilled,
and a key
moves, cruel, in thick hours of sleep.
Is it a mouse?
Is it the wind?
We go downstairs, scared we see
the dark form, and his lament stops.
But we forget. The day forgives.
Our desire is to love, the piano fits
in our love. Poor piano, the time
is gone, fingers were accumulated
in the gnawed varnish. Forest of fingers,
piles of music and waltzes and murmurs
and sandals of another world in cloudy floors.
We must respect its ghosts, peace for the elders.
Love for the elders. Sing, piano, although hoarse:
it thunders. The profuse dust jumps,
and spiders, beings of wing and pus, wicked,
move through the sarcastic an irreducible substance.
So our affection
finds in it the bile, and resigns
A wall marks the street
and the house. It is all protection,
docility, caress. A wall
leans on us, and aids the unstable,
the fool, the blind. On the other side is the night,
the forgotten fear, the prisons' inspectors,
hunters, the vulpinus

But the house is a love. What peace lays on the furniture.
A chair is renewed to my desire.
The wool, the smooth carpet. The placid and
and confident things. The house lives.
I trust each wooden board. At times it happens
that an incubus disturbs
our modest, deep confidence.
It is brother of the crow, but it lacks words,
bust and humour. A rigid sorrow,
the rheumatism of imperial nights, irritation
of no longer be a piano, to the poetic sense of the word,
and all that leaves changes,
travel, tuners,
experiment of young ones,
easy rhapsody brightness,
more changes,
gushes of air, rotten wood,
all that is death of the piano and makes it sinister, inadaptable,
little grotesque, merciless.
A family, how to explain? People, animals,
objects, way to fold the oblivion, preference
to use this ray of sunshine and not the other, a certain glass and not another,
the collection of pictures, some books,
letters, habits, way of looking, form of head,
dislikes and infallible inclinations: a family,
I know, but and that piano?
It is in the bottom
of the house, underneath
the sensitive area, very
beneath the blood.

It is above the ceiling, higher
that the palm, higher
than the balcony, higher
than the ire, the cunning, the alarm.
We cut the piano
in a thousand pieces of fingernail?
We bury the piano
in the garden?
As Aníbal, we will throw it
in the sea?
Piano, piano, quit lamenting!
In the world, such a weight
of anguish
and you, giraffe, trying.
We can only hope
(as in insomnia we have for the dawn)
that one day you move without notice,
illegal, mocking, vengeful, heavy,
that you leave us
and deserted remains this place of shadow
where today you prevail. Forever will prevail?
(It's an old piano, belonged
to some lady, today
without fingers, without chin, without
music in the cold mansion.
A piece of old, the rest
of a grave, my God, in this room
where not long ago we talked.)

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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