Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Old poems

Filtering by Tag: Rita Faria

Tell me now this, my heart,

joana meirim

The poem is therefore not merely about syntactic prowess. It is indeed about the intellectual depths of Bernardim and Sá de Miranda, to the extent that (mainly) the latter display the impossible skill of examining themselves as if they were outside looking in. To me, a reader who is utterly incapable of performing such a complex philosophical operation (although I acknowledge its utility, as it would certainly save many appointments with psychologists), this is an admirable feat. And all this in a poem which appears to be so unpretentious, so short and written in such a casual manner. Thus, I like this poem because it is only apparently simple (very few can write something which is simple but only apparently); and because this simplicity conveys “an emotion”, to invoke what Rasputine told Corto Maltese after, funnily enough, he tried to kill him.

Read More

Greater plight was never cast

Maria S. Mendes


Greater plight was never cast


Greater plight was never cast

not even in love found 

than remembrance of grace past,

at times when disgrace abounds.


I have for my great misfortune

seen all the plight existing,

but never a greater sadness

reminded me of feelings persisting.

I was and I am a lover

and love favours me not

and great pain I’ve seen begot,

but this is pain like no other.


Obras de Bernardim Ribeiro, organização, introdução e notas de Helder Macedo e Maurício Matos, Lisboa: Editorial Presença, 2010.Translation for this website by Rita Faria. 


This poem should not have been forgotten because it evokes the power of memory and its lingering presence in our identity and life.

This is again a cantiga by Bernardim Ribeiro, the cerebral poet of the pains of love and existential philosophy, who this time states that the greatest pain one can experience is the remembrance of past happiness at times of adversity. The antonymic pair “grace”/”disgrace” seems a very apt choice to describe the pain of evoking happy times which are now over.

I like this poem very much because I view it as a crucial predecessor of many other works which have taught me the absolute importance of the memory of the past in the present – By the rivers that flow (Sôbolos rios que vão)[1], by Camões; Amália’s voice singing “triste quero viver pois se mudou/em tristeza a alegria do passado” (“sad I wish to live for the happiness/of the past has turned into sadness), a poem some say was also written by Camões; Sophie Call’s book Doleur Exquise in which the artist produces a countdown in journal form to the painful breakup with her then partner. It is a constant process of remembrance of past happiness – on that day, there were 92 days left before the pain. 91 days. 90 days. Etc. Happy times are the silly happiness of ignorance which lasts until something or someone decides to ruin everything.

The poem is also a linguistic gem. It was written at a critical time in the history of Portuguese, in which the language was looking for stable forms but would also exhibit great variation (Cardeira 2012). This cantiga chooses the unsurpassable word “tristura” (“sadness”) instead of “tristeza”, which other compositions included in the Cancioneiro prefer. The period of elaboration of Middle Portuguese was actually quite handy to poets. Had Bernardim tried to write his cantiga at a later stage and the rhyme with “má ventura” (“misfortune”) would have given him a headache.  

The use of “amador” (“lover”) in its etymological sense, as derived from “amar” (“to love”) and “amor” (“love”) is also unforgettable. “Fui e sou grande amador” (“I was and I am a great lover”) is almost an intentional pleonasm with lots of personality.

To sum up, I like this poem because, in the words of another unsurpassable poet who came later, “I saw that joy, once ended/ isn’t pleasure, it’s grief”. One of life’s greatest truths, whether we like it or not.  

Rita Faria

[1]Camões, L. (2009). Sonetos e outros poemas. Organização e tradução de Richard Zenith: Planeta Manuscrito.

Rita Faria is a professor at the Catholic University of Portugal. She doesn’t know how to do anything else apart from reading and writing and wants to do nothing else apart from reading and writing. Besides this, she enjoys horror films, vampires, ghosts and zombies in general and thinks the Portuguese language is the most fun in the whole world.

Cantiga, upon departing

Maria S. Mendes

The theme is again love and the pain of separation, but the magnitude of the hurt is conveyed by the linguistic resources of the poem, to which we have called “impressionist” because of the importance attached to physical referents, mainly tears and eyes, who fall “sick”, and to repetition which allows for the parallel created at the beginning and at the end of the poem. Without this craftsman’s work on language, the poem would be nothing more than a banal complaint about the pains of love.

Read More

If I obeyed reason

Sara Carvalho

This poem should not have been forgotten because it is a brief, melodic ascertainment of the kind of truth which everyone has already experienced and probably experiences every day – the mind does not live without a body and the latter lays down its will often. Camões would honestly and openly sing about “expecting a body from the one whose soul you take”, and this poem seems to endorse such statement. Reason is not denied, neither is the soul, but it is also true that one cannot perpetually obey reason as that is against nature itself (“…is to deny the sensuality,/in which the heart lives entire.”).

Read More

Between I, myself and me

Maria S. Mendes


Between I, myself and me


Between I, myself and me

What has risen I do not know

Which makes me my enemy


For a time with much delusion

I myself have lived with me

Now in the greatest misery

I find great harm comes in profusion.

Sorely costly is disillusionment

and yet kill me it did not

but how sorely did I pay the cost.


To myself I am made a stranger

Between consideration and concern

Evil lies there, spun

By great evil to which I succumb.

A new fear, a new woe

This is what has had me so,

Thus I am had, thus I am so.


Bernardim Ribeiro. Translation for this website Rita Faria. 


This poem should not have been forgotten because it can avoid many appointments with a psychiatrist. It is the perfect example of a certain poetic “breathing” which eases our own breathing, as any asthma patient, myself included, knows perfectly well.

It is a very self-contained poem, closed in itself, “solipsist” (inverted commas because this is an ugly word which becomes eloquent with time), and at the same time universal, troubling and illustrative of what Oscar Wilde, to whom flamboyance was no stranger, claimed – the worse crimes of Humanity are committed in the brain.

Bernardim makes us face alienation (“to myself I made a stranger”), which we could perhaps define as the feeling of looking at ourselves in the mirror and seeing a complete stranger bearing entirely different values, morals and truth to our own – to the point we could call them lies. This villancico explains all the moments in life in which we struggle against what we should do and not against what we can and want to do.

We usually choose the ease and the cowardice of doing what we can and want to do, instead of what is right – and this “makes us our enemy”. In Linguistics, modality is defined as the speaker’s attitude and his or her engagement towards the utterance; it is conveyed by certain verbs which with some pomposity are called “modal” – “should” and “can” prominently. Bernardim calls it something “that has risen”; “delusion”; “great harm”; and he also describes the moment of cruel lucidity (“Sorely costly is disillusionment”) when we imperatively know that our brain has committed a crime; or the coward moment in which we choose what is easy, not what is right.

The world is full of bad people who think they are good people simply because they have never killed or insulted anyone to their face. We are all like that except for Bernardim (in itself a very musical name). He knows that when the moment of “disillusionment” comes, the kind masks which cover our ugly, not at all ideal self, will fall and uncover a dire portrait of Dorian Grey (who would tell that Oscar Wilde could have so much to do with all this). At least, we have Bernardim to tell us that life is what it is, that the human condition struggles against its own turpitude and, alas, “thus I am had, thus I am so”.

Originally published in Cancioneiro Geral, this villancico follows the “new metrics”, the fashion of the time, and it postulates the equally fashionable theme of the “fragmentation of the self”, which is furthermore reflected in Sá de Miranda’s “troubled” cantiga. The latter complains about not being able to live with himself nor without himself (here, prepositions and pronouns convey to perfection the intricate philosophy exuding from the minds of these poets). However, I would say that the truthful and disarming simplicity of Bernardim’s poem scores many points. “Between I, myself and me/ What has risen I do not know”. “Between consideration and concern”. In his frequent alliterations, the poet says everything he means in a couple of lines. No need for endless verbal drivel. 


* Very little is known about Bernardim Ribeiro but at the same time a great deal is known. His poetry was included in Garcia de Resende’s 1516 Cancioneiro Geral and fellow poet and friend Sá de Miranda writes about him (“amigo Ribeiro”) to both praise his literary gifts and lament his mysterious fall from grace. Almeida Garrett attributes the latter to a heartbreaking love story between Bernardim and Beatriz, who happened to be the King’s daughter. Sadly there is no historical evidence for such a cinematic love story. What we do know is that Bernardim, in all likelihood born in the late 1400s and deceased in the mid-1500s, was a poet who enjoyed success and royal favours for a time; left the court for reasons unknown but probably in disgrace; transformed the cadence of music and alliteration into cerebral poetry and wrote the most wonderful beginning to a novel – “Menina e moça me levaram de casa de minha mãe para muito longe. Que causa fosse então daquela minha levada, era ainda pequena, não a soube”. It is also Menina e Moça who provides grounds to believe Bernardim might have been Jewish – converted, reconverted, in exile, we don’t know (as explained by Helder Macedo in his preface to Menina e Moça, D. Quixote, 1999). His mind seems to have been a mind in exile – and there are many forms of exile, with which Bernardim was certainly acquainted. This, we know. 

Translation and reading Rita Faria

Rita Faria is a professor at the Catholic University of Portugal. She doesn’t know how to do anything else apart from reading and writing and wants to do nothing else apart from reading and writing. Besides this, she enjoys horror films, vampires, ghosts and zombies in general and thinks the Portuguese language is the most fun in the whole world.