Ruy Belo

Poem of the Quotidian
July 10, 2014 Belo Ruy

Poem of the Quotidian

 

Night falls so swiftly in this part of town

No one but you, our administrative head,

takes pleasure in such efficient service of the sun

Just a moment ago it seemed

properly housed and resident at the end of the street

You sir didn’t calculate all the daytime

that a carnival of light could offer everyone

I’ve never seen and I’ve been around

men washing their hands in the sunlight like today

housewives coming to fill with sun

great jars, jugs, basins, and other vessels

Never on so many feet

has the sun so humbly shone

It even drew one might say the children’s eyes

towards school and put new reflections

on the miserable windowpanes out back

 

Some would say the sun has gone too far

Some of the poor in this part of town

caught it on their knives, mixed it in with their bread

They ended up treating it like a neighbor

At this rate… It was true madness

The king of all stars turned accessible to everyone

he who normally greeted no one

Always the same indifferent

spectacle of light above our cares

 

 

 

we came we went we entered but we never saw

that incandescent constancy. Would anyone

dare to let a single ray

pierce through his life and illuminate his suffering?

 

But today the sun

died like anyone of us

The people here grew very sad

Never had night fallen so swiftly in this part of town

 

 

POEMA QUOTIDIANO

 

É tão depressa noite neste bairro

Nenhum outro porém senhor administrador

goza de tão eficiente serviço de sol

Ainda não há muito ele parecia

domiciliado e residente ao fim da rua

O senhor não calcula todo o dia

que festa de luz proporcionou a todos

Nunca vi e já tenho os meus anos

lavar a gente as mãos no sol como hoje

Donas de casa vieram encher de sol

cântaros alguidares e mais vasos domésticos

Nunca em tantos pés

assim humildemente brilhou

Orientou diz-se até os olhos das crianças

para a escola e pôs reflexos novos

nas míseras vidraças lá do fundo

 

Há quem diga que o sol foi longe demais

Algum dos pobres desta freguesia

apanhou-o na faca misturou-o no pão

Chegaram a tratá-lo por vizinho

Por este andar… Foi uma autêntica loucura

O astro-rei tornado acessível a todos

ele que ninguém habitualmente saudava

Sempre o mesmo indiferente

espectáculo de luz sobre os nossos cuidados

Íamos vínhamos entrávamos não víamos

aquela persistência rubra. Ousaria

alguém deixar um só daqueles raios

atravessar-lhe a vida iluminar-lhe as penas?

 

Mas hoje o sol

morreu como qualquer de nós

Ficou tão triste a gente destes sítios

Nunca foi tão depressa noite neste bairro

 

 

Translator: Alexis Levitin’s translations have appeared in well over two hundred literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Partisan Review, Grand Street, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review, New Orleans Review and Catamaran. His thirty-four books include Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm and Eugenio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words (both from New Directions). His most recent books are Salgado Maranhao’s Blood of the Sun (Milkweed Editions, 2012), Eugenio de Andrade’s The Art of Patience (Red Dragonfly Press, 2013), and Ana Minga’s Tobacco Dogs (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013).

Ruy Belo, who died prematurely in 1978, published eleven collections of poetry, four collections of critical writings, numerous translations, and appeared in over thirty anthologies. Recent translations of his work have appeared in APR, New Letters, Per Contra, and elsewhere.