Two Poems from Brazil

June 14, 2023
A photograph of a lake surrounded by trees in fall foliage
Photo by Lucas Calloch / Unsplash

Japanese Garden

I curve like a wooden bridge
over a lake lit up by red carps
I am hard and dry and barely adorned
like a sand garden
(though there are stones that blossom
like flowers)
silent like rice paper
on which
has yet been written

What Do I Know?

I know few things I know that reading
is a choreography
that to be concentrated is to be distracted
I know that first one loves a name I know
that what one loves in love is the name of the love
I know few things I forget quickly the things
that I know I know that forgetting is musical
I know that what I learned from the sea was not the sea
that only death teaches what it teaches
I know that it is a world of fear of neighbors
of sleep of animals of fear
I know that the strengths of coexistence survive through time
being erased though
I know that surrender resists
that waiting is violent
I know that intimacy is the name given
to an infinite distance
I know few things

Translations from the Portuguese

Ana Martins Marques (b. 1977, Belo Horizonte) is an award-winning Brazilian author of several poetry collections, including A vida submarina, Da arte das armadilhas, O livro das semelhanças, and Risque esta palavra. Her poems have been translated into English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. This House, published by Scrambler Books in 2017 and translated by Elisa Wouk Almino, is a selection of poems from Ana’s first three books originally published in Brazil.

Nathalia Pereira Jardim (b. 1993) is a literary translator and writer. Her credentials include an MA in Portuguese-English (to be completed in 2024) and previous studies in screenwriting at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). She lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.