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Filtering by Category: Translations

Two Poems, Camilo Pessanha

Nuno Amado

Phonograph, translation Jeffrey Childs


       Still performing is a dead comedian.

The audience laughs hysterically

At the old fogy… And in the air is a scent

Of death and dust – the anachronic question.


       The register changes, there’s a barcarola:

Lilies, lilies, river waters, the moon.

Before His body my dream floats above

These marshlands – ecstatic corolla.


       It changes again: the chirpings, the refrain

Of a golden horn – the scent of jonquils,

Vivid and pungent! – trumpeting the dawn…


       It ceased. And, loving, the soul of the cornets

Came to an end, dewy and obscure.

Spring. Morning. What effusion of violets!

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Mister Bad Luck

Maria S. Mendes

The boy was born on a Friday 13th, that’s why he had such bad luck.
He was never ill so he could never skip school. Such bad luck!
At the raffles he always won a car. He had already 17 cars but he had no driving license. Such bad luck!
He wanted fresh eggs to make omelets so he bought a hen. But the hen only laid golden eggs. Such bad luck!
When the helicopter in which he was flying fell, he safely landed on a cherry tree. He hated cherries. Such bad luck.

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I face such great changes

Maria S. Mendes

I face such great changes, translation Rita Faria


I face such great changes,

what can I find safe?

Hope which is so lame,

Misfortune which remains…


All my long illusions beget

All these disillusionments, and let

them go, for time and years have passed 

and other concerns I’ve amassed.

Change for me is no more,

a safe pain I’ll have instead:

let in futile hope tread

those who risk what they ignore!


Antre tamanhas mudanças, Bernardim Ribeiro


Antre tamanhas mudanças,

que cousa terei segura?

Duvidosas esperanças,

Tão certa desaventura...


Venham estes desenganos

Do meu longo engano, e vão,

que já o tempo e os anos

outros cuidados me dão.

Já não sou para mudanças,

mais quero ũador segura:

vá crê-las vãs esperanças

quem não sabe o qu’aventura!


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 zombiesin general and thinks the Portuguese language is the most fun in the whole world.

Palavras Caras

Maria S. Mendes

Palavras Caras


Em minha casa, detestávamos pessoas bem-

-falantes, palavras caras. De uma vez, apareceu a

prima Maria Lucília a dizer já não sei porquê:

            – Fiquei muito confrangida.

Passámos a chamar-lhe “a confrangida”.

Sempre que aparecia alguém na televisão a

declamar poesia ou a falar de poesia, desligáva-

mos a televisão.


Adília Lopes, “Palavras Caras”, Manhã. Lisboa: Assírio & Alvim, 2015. © Adília Lopes e Assírio & Alvim / Grupo Porto Editora. Aqui publicado com autorização da autora e da editora. 

Fancy Words, translation Christina Chalmers


In my house, we hated people well-

-spoken, fancy words. Once, Maria Lucília

appeared, the cousin, saying I still don’t know why:

                – I was very consternated.

We started to call her ‘the consternated’.

Each time someone appeared on TV to

read poetry or talk of poetry, we turned

off the TV.

Christina Chalmers is a poet and translator, from Edinburgh, Scotland. She has published two poetry chapbooks: Work Songs (Shit valley, 2013) and Willingness (Materials, 2016). She is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at New York University, where she is pursuing research on documentary film and poetry.

Lion of Philosophy

Maria S. Mendes


"Lion of Philosophy" (“Tetsugaku no Lion”)




Lion is fond of "Philosophy".



That's because Snail kindly told him that a lion is King of Beasts who should look philosophical.



Today Lion thought he would be "philosophical".



He thought that this philosophy thing would seem better when one contrives a way to sit, so he sat on his belly with his tail curled to the right, and placed his paws on top of each other.



He then stretched his neck, and looked up to the right. This is a better way, judging from the way the tail is curled. If the tail goes right and the face goes left, he would end up looking spoony.



Beyond where Lion’s face was pointed to, there were miles of fields, with one lone tree standing.



Lion stared at the branches of the tree. The leaves on the branches swayed in the wind. Lion's mane also swayed from time to time.



(I wish somebody would come. When they ask me "What are you doing?", I will reply, "I'm doing philosophy".)



Lion stayed still, watching in the corner of his eye if somebody would come, but nobody came.



The dusk had fallen. Lion had stiff shoulders and he became hungry.



(Philosophy gives me stiff shoulders. When I'm hungry, philosophy is no good.)



He thought he'd finish with "philosophy" for today, and go over to Snail.



"Hi Snail. I was philosophy today."



"Hi Lion. That's great to hear. And how was it?"



"Yeah, it was like this."



Lion showed him how he was when he did philosophy.



Just like a few moments ago, he stretched his neck and looked up to the right, and then there was the sunset sky.



"Oh how wonderful it is! Lion, your philosophy is so beautiful and so magnificent!"



"Really? You said what? Could you tell me that again?"



"Sure, so beautiful and so magnificent!"



"Really? My philosophy is so beautiful and so magnificent? Thank you, Snail."



Lion forgot all about his stiff shoulders and hunger, and in a standstill, he has become philosophy.



Kudo Naoko, “Lion of Philosophy (Tetsugaku no Lion),” Tetsugaku no Lion. Tokyo: Risosha, 1982.



Akihiko Shimizu teaches Japanese at the University of Edinburgh. He also does research on Ben Jonson and early modern English literature. Years ago when Aki bumped into a three-line epigram by Jonson, he found it so baffling that he decided to find out what on earth the poem is on about. He ended up writing a PhD thesis, Ben Jonson and Character.


Songs of the unloved

Maria S. Mendes

Songs of the unloved, tradução Yulia Lukyanova


Songs of the unloved.

Songs of the thrown away.

Of those buried without a name.

Of immured into the night.

Songs of the crossed out from the lists.

Songs of those made to kneel on ice.

The song of the wanted no more,

It goes on, it does not stop.


We are trained quite well –

To light fires from burning snakes;

To rip our hearts out,

So we can become angrier still.

To keep heads under the water,

So nobody can take a breath;

And to break off the blade after the blow,

Because “the God is with us”.


Step on the glass

If it is empty now;

Put your head into the loop,

Take your stuff and get out.

Lord, please tell me

The Secrets of Being;

Look me in the eye

And say that it’s Your will.


We could keep waiting for the sun,

Looking at the zenith with blind eyes;

We used to have a crystal bell

inside us,

Somebody stepped on it, and it does not chime any more.

This music is older than the world itself;

It is awkward and laugh-worthy;

But I will dance to it,

Even if we cannot hear it.


For a gentle soul –

An iron dress.

The words in blood on the sand –

“All people are brothers”.

I don’t need your Secrets of Being

any more.

Just look me in the eye

And say that it’s your Will.

Песни нелюбимых, Boris Grebenshchikov


Песни нелюбимых.

Песни выброшенных прочь.

Похороненных без имени.

Замурованных в ночь.

Песни вычеркнутых из списков.

Песни саженых на лёд.

Песня больше не нужных

Звучит, не перестаёт.



У нас хорошая школа -

Прикуривать от горящих змей;

Вырвать самому себе сердце,

Чтобы стать ещё злей.

Держать голову под водой,

Не давать делать вдох;

И обламывать лезвие после удара

Потому что с нами Бог.




Наступи на стакан,

Если он выпит;

Голову в петлю,

И с вещами на выход.

Господи, открой мне

Тайны бытия;

Посмотри мне в глаза

И скажи, что это воля Твоя.



Можно долго ждать солнца,

Глядя слепыми глазами в зенит;

У нас внутри был хрустальный колокольчик.

На него наступили, он больше не звенит.

Эта музыка старее, чем мир;

Она нелепа и смешна;

Но я буду танцевать под неё,

Даже если она не слышна.



Ласковой душе -

Железное платье.

Кровью на песке -

Все люди братья.

Мне больше не нужны Твои

Тайны бытия.

Просто посмотри мне в глаза

И скажи, что это воля Твоя.




Yulia Lukyanova is a social psychologist who is fascinated by all things protest. She is Russian, but has lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for some time now. She completed her PhD dissertation ‘Manufacturing dissent in Russia: A discursive psychological analysis of protesters’ talk’ at the University of Edinburgh in 2016. At this point in her life, she teaches sociology and does research into Russian diaspora in the UK and social movements in Russia. 

Between I, myself and me

Maria S. Mendes

Between I, myself and me, tradução Rita Faria


 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 have I paid 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.

Antre mim mesmo e mim, Bernardim Ribeiro


Antre mim mesmo e mim

não sei que s’alevantou

que tão meu inimigo sou.


Uns tempos com grand’engano

vivi eu mesmo comigo,

agora no mor perigo

se me descobre o mor dano.

Caro custa um desengano

e pois m’este não matou

quão caro que me custou.


De mim me sou feito alheio,

antr’o cuydado e cuidado

está um mal derramado,

que por mal grande me veio.

Nova dor, novo receio

foi este que me tomou,

assim me tem, assim estou.




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. 

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.