Emigrant

by Corsino Fortes

Every evening, sunset crooks
             its thumb across the island
And from the sunset to the thumb
             there grows
             a path of dead stone
And this peninsula
                         Still drinks
All the blood of your wandering body
From a tenant farmer’s cup

But when your voice
            becomes a chord on the shore’s guitar
And the earth of the face and the face of the earth
             Extend the palm of the hand
From the seaward edge of the island
                           A palm made of bread
You will merge your final hunger
             with your first

From above there will come
The faces and prows of not-voyage
             So that herbal and mercury
Extract the crosses from your body

The screaming of mothers carries you
                                                  now
To the seventh corner
             where the island is shipwrecked
             where the island celebrates
Your daughter pain
The pain of a woman in childbirth

So that all parting is power in death
      all return a child’s learning to spell

No longer do we wait for the cycle
             Pulp from good fruit, fruit from good pulp
             The earth
                         breathes in
                                     your green speech

And there before your feet
                                              should be
                                                                a tree on a hill


And your hand
                         should sing
                                       a new moon in my heart

Go and plant
             in dead Amilcar’s mouth
This fistful of watercress
And spread from goal to goal
             a fresh phonetics
And with the commas of the street
         and syllables from door to door
You will sweep away before the night
The roads that go
            as far as the night-schools
For all departure means a growing alphabet
        for all return is a nation’s language

They await you
             the dogs and the piglets
             at Chota’s house
             grown thin from the warmth of the welcome

They await you
             the cups and semantics of taverns

They await you
             the beasts
             choking on applause and sugarcane

They await you
             faces that explode
             on the blood of ants
             new pastorals to cultivate

But
             when your body
                         of blood and lignite, on heat

Raises
             Over the harvest
Your pain
And your orgasm
             Who didn’t know
             Who doesn’t know
                                     Emigrant
That all of parting is power in death
And all return is a child learning to spell

The literal translation of this poem was made by Daniel Hahn

The final translated version of the poem is by Sean O'Brien

Comments

  1. May 16th, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Hebe says:

    Fantastic poem!

  2. October 8th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    paulo silas says:

    Legal! Nunca tinha ouvido um poema em Português de Portugal!

  3. April 12th, 2010 at 5:21 am

    kelly says:

    my love is for yur long life 

     

    rahul