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  • Three Poems
  • Lêdo Ivo (bio)
    Translated by Alexis Levitin

snow and love

On this day of burning heat, I'm waiting for snow.I've been waiting for it always.When I was a boy, I read Notes from the House of the Deadand saw snow falling on Siberian steppesand on the tattered coat of Fyodor Dostoevsky.I love snow because it doesn't separate day from nightor distance heaven from the sufferings of earth.It unites what's separate:the footsteps of those condemned to darkened iceand sighs of love vanishing in the air.One has to have a fine-tuned earto hear the music of falling snow, something almost silentlike the touch of an angel's wing, assuming there are angels,or the dying breath of a bird.One shouldn't wait for snow the way one waits for love.They are different things. It's enough to open our eyes to see the snowfalling on a deserted field. And it falls on us, cold white snowthat doesn't burn like the flame of love.To see love our eyes do not suffice,nor our ears, nor our mouth, nor even our heartsthat beat in the dark with the same soundas snow falling on the steppesand on the roofs of darkened hovelsand on the tattered coat of Fyodor Dostoevsky.To see love, nothing suffices. Both winter cold and searing heatkeep it from us, from our open armsand our tormented hearts.Faithful to my childhood, I prefer to see snowthat unites heaven and earth, night and day,rather than be a helpless prey to love,love that is neither white nor pure nor cold as snow. [End Page 101]

the load

A street led me to the port.And I was the street with its torn windowsand the sun set down in the maternal sand.I carried to the seaside everything that appearedduring my passage: doors, faces, voices, colonies of termitesand braided onions ripening in the shadowsof well-stocked storerooms. And sacks of sugar. And the rainsthat have darkened the roofs of the houses.It was a day of offerings. Nothing was lost.The waves celebrated the beauty of the world.The earth put on parade its promises of life.And I lay down my own light loadin the cargo holds of those rusting ships.

steam shovel

All silence troubles me.There's always something it leaves out:a treason plotted amongst wisteriasthe final explanation of the existence or the inexistence of Godthe sound of rats in the rubbishthe clash of propeller and wind at the abandoned airport.But morning bursts forth at the work site and I hear the noise of the steam shovel.Men have already awakened and returned to their construction and destruction.They're going to build new houses and new tombs.

In the sunny morning, the Beatle comes to a stop in the motel alley.Once again penis and vagina will try to understand each otherin this world so filled with failed encounters.The steam shovel shovels and the caterpillar treads advance in the crater open like a corolla.Seen by the conductor's sleepy eyes as the bus goes down the avenue, the world as spectacle. [End Page 102]

Lêdo Ivo

Lêdo Ivo (1924–2012) was born in Maceió, Alagoas, and was a celebrated journalist, poet, novelist, and essayist. A member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, he received such awards as the Olavo Bilac Prize, Casimiro de Abreu Award, Luísa Cláudio de Sousa Prize, and Mário de Andrade Prize; he was also given the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidade Federal de Alagoas. In 2004, he was awarded the Gold Dolphin Prize of the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro for his work as a whole.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-943x
Print ISSN
1045-7909
Pages
pp. 101-102
Launched on MUSE
2019-02-07
Open Access
No
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