restricted access from Regresso Triunfal de Cruz e Sousa [Triumphal Return of Cruz e Sousa]
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from Regresso Triunfal de Cruz e Sousa [Triumphal Return of Cruz e Sousa]
(João da Cruz e Sousa, 1861–1898, Brazilian Symbolist poet)

There’s no coffee, poet, (it’s ridioculously expensive), we can’t afford it, and the land, even though it’s fertile, hasn’t really been plowed. I don’t know if that bench is comfortable. Please sit down in the easy chair! Prepare yourself to hear with all the resistance your timpanums can muster what the gossips and slanderers have said in your absence (theses that distinguished their wisdom): the transparency of ice, your preference for silver, your admiration of a woman’s blonde head, the symbolic whiteness of some bodies, the clarity of moonlight, the brilliance of diamonds, the shining stars, and everything that configures the color white (according to the backbiters) symbolize a fleeing from your origin burnt by the sun of all times, a fleeing from your beautiful black shape.

On this special occasion (what a privilege to be visited by one of the immortals!), I want to reveal my impressions to you: after the mothers’ joyous pain of giving birth, all sons and daughters, attacked by bright light and air, after their first cry, still whimpering, gaze at their mothers’ loving faces, [End Page 89] the white of the eyes (as well as the black, brown, and blue-green), the white teeth in a wide smile, the white milk of their first food outside the womb. You know, great poet, I do not scorn the distant legacy kept in the suffocated screams during the crossing of the immense sea.

Speaking of our origin (first continent), in spite of being the land of blacks many white things highlight the beauties that fill the eyes delighting all beings in a curious and pleasing sensation of existing, on the road to peace. Friday’s magic session revealed that a powerful Orisha sang on your head in your first moment in the light, and in a trance in the mysterious Kivu you walked through swampy deltas and clearly saw plains of lava, savannahs and volcanoes, your eyes drank in the intoxicating splendor of Ruwenzori’s eternal snows. Going a little further you came to the mountains of the Moon and saw their inhabitants, and the gorillas with their songs and dances, the source of the White Nile, scraping the womb of the earth to create the millennial Egypt, gift of the Virungas, black people, Congo people. The whiteness pursuing your eyes in the twisting rivers takes you to the Nile, passing by all its steaming waterfalls to see the Zambeze cascade in the crystal mist of Victoria Falls. [End Page 90]

fragmento DE REGRESSO TRIUNFAL DE CRUZ E SOUSA

Café não tem, poeta, (tá caro pra desgraça), não podemos comprar e a terra, embora fértil, não é de todo arada. Não sei se esse mocho é confortável. Senta-te, por obséquio, na cadeira preguiçosa! Prepara-te para ouvir com toda resistência dos teus tímpanos, os mexericos e falatórios (teses que distinguiram sábios) durante tua ausência: a transparência do gelo, tua preferência pela prata, a admiração por uma cabeça loura de mulher, a brancura simbólica de alguns corpos, a claridade do luar, o brilho dos diamantes, o resplandecer das estrelas e tudo que configura a cor branca (assim disseram as más línguas) simbolizam a fuga de tua origem queimada pelo sol de todos os tempos, fuga da tua bela figura negra.

Nesta ocasião especial (é privilégio ser visitado pelos imortais), quero revelar-te minhas impressões: depois da feliz dor do parto (das mães) todo filho ou filha, agredido pela claridade e pelo ar, depois do primeiro berro, ainda choramingando, depara no rosto terno da mãe o branco do olho (mais o preto, castanho, verde-azul), o branco dos dentes num riso largo, o branco do leite primeiro alimento, fora do útero. Sabe, magno poeta, não desprezo a herança distante [End Page 91] guardada nos gritos sufocados na travessia do mar imenso.

Falando da nossa origem (continente...