Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Lêdo Ivo

MY HOME

The Portuguese language is not my home.
No language is a home.
My home is the soft and viscous land where I was born
and the waft of the wind in Maceió.
It is the crabs scurrying through the muck of mangrove swamps
and the ocean whose waves still wet my feet when I dream.
My home is bats hanging from the ceiling of churches in decay,
madmen dancing at sunset in the asylum by the sea,
and the sky curved round by constellations.
My home is the sound of the ship’s horn
and the lighthouse high on the hill.
My home is the beggar’s hand in radiant morning.
And the rotting shipyards
and the graves by the sea where my ancestors, consumptive
and malarial, can’t stop coughing and trembling on cold nights
and the smell of sugar in warehouses along the wharves
and mullets struggling in the fishermen’s nets
and strands of onions tangled in the dark
and rain falling over the fish pens.
The language I use is not and never was my home.
No deceitful language is a home.
It merely serves for me to celebrate my great impoverished silent land,
my dysentery-ridden toothless home, devoid of grammar books and dictionaries,
this land, my home, without language, without words.

MIJN VADERLAND

Mijn vaderland is niet de Portugese taal.
Geen enkele taal is het vaderland.
Mijn vaderland is de weke, kleffe aarde waar ik werd geboren
en de wind die waait in Maceió.
Het zijn de krabben die rennen door de modder van de mangroven
en de oceaan die met zijn golven mijn voeten omspoelt tot in mijn dromen.
Mijn vaderland zijn de vleermuizen die hangen in het houtwerk van vermolmde kerken,
de gekken die bij zonsondergang dansen in het hospitium aan zee,
en de door de constellaties gekromde hemel.
Mijn vaderland zijn de toeters van de schepen
en de vuurtoren boven op de heuvel.
Mijn vaderland is de hand van de bedelaar in de stralende morgen.
Het zijn de verrotte scheepswerven
en de zeekerkhoven waar mijn tuberculeuze en malarialijdende voorouders
            maar blijven hoesten en rillen in de koude nachten
en de geur van suiker in de havenloodsen
en de harders die spartelen in de netten van de vissers
en de risten uien opgerold in het duister
en de regen die op de viskralen valt.
De taal waar ik mij van behelp is en was nooit mijn vaderland.
Geen enkele misleidende taal is het vaderland.
Hij dient mij slechts om mijn grote, arme, stomme vaderland te vieren,
mijn dysenterische, onttande vaderland, zonder grammatica en zonder woordenboek,
mijn vaderland zonder taal en zonder woorden.

MINHA PÁTRIA

Minha pátria não é a língua portuguesa.
Nenhuma língua é a pátria.
Minha pátria é a terra mole e peganhenta onde nasci
e o vento que sopra em Maceió.
São os caranguejos que correm na lama dos mangues
e o oceano cujas ondas continuam molhando os meus pés quando sonho.
Minha pátria são os morcegos suspensos no forro das igrejas carcomidas,
os loucos que dançam ao entardecer no hospício junto ao mar,
e o céu encurvado pelas constelações.
Minha pátria são os apitos dos navios
e o farol no alto da colina.
Minha pátria é a mão do mendigo na manhã radiosa.
São os estaleiros apodrecidos
e os cemitérios marinhos onde os meus ancestrais  tuberculosos e implaudados não não param de tossir e tremer nas noite frias
e o cheiro de açúcar nos armazéns portuários
e as tainhas que se debatem nas redes dos pescadores
e as résteas de cebola enrodilhadas na treva
e a chuva que cai sobre os currais de peixe.
A língua de que me utilizo não é e nunca foi a minha pátria.
Nenhuma língua enganosa é a pátria.
Ela serve apenas para que eu celebre a minha grande e pobre pátria muda,
minha pátria desintérica e desdentada, sem gramática e sem dicionário,
minha pátria sem língua e sem palavras.
Close

MY HOME

The Portuguese language is not my home.
No language is a home.
My home is the soft and viscous land where I was born
and the waft of the wind in Maceió.
It is the crabs scurrying through the muck of mangrove swamps
and the ocean whose waves still wet my feet when I dream.
My home is bats hanging from the ceiling of churches in decay,
madmen dancing at sunset in the asylum by the sea,
and the sky curved round by constellations.
My home is the sound of the ship’s horn
and the lighthouse high on the hill.
My home is the beggar’s hand in radiant morning.
And the rotting shipyards
and the graves by the sea where my ancestors, consumptive
and malarial, can’t stop coughing and trembling on cold nights
and the smell of sugar in warehouses along the wharves
and mullets struggling in the fishermen’s nets
and strands of onions tangled in the dark
and rain falling over the fish pens.
The language I use is not and never was my home.
No deceitful language is a home.
It merely serves for me to celebrate my great impoverished silent land,
my dysentery-ridden toothless home, devoid of grammar books and dictionaries,
this land, my home, without language, without words.

MY HOME

The Portuguese language is not my home.
No language is a home.
My home is the soft and viscous land where I was born
and the waft of the wind in Maceió.
It is the crabs scurrying through the muck of mangrove swamps
and the ocean whose waves still wet my feet when I dream.
My home is bats hanging from the ceiling of churches in decay,
madmen dancing at sunset in the asylum by the sea,
and the sky curved round by constellations.
My home is the sound of the ship’s horn
and the lighthouse high on the hill.
My home is the beggar’s hand in radiant morning.
And the rotting shipyards
and the graves by the sea where my ancestors, consumptive
and malarial, can’t stop coughing and trembling on cold nights
and the smell of sugar in warehouses along the wharves
and mullets struggling in the fishermen’s nets
and strands of onions tangled in the dark
and rain falling over the fish pens.
The language I use is not and never was my home.
No deceitful language is a home.
It merely serves for me to celebrate my great impoverished silent land,
my dysentery-ridden toothless home, devoid of grammar books and dictionaries,
this land, my home, without language, without words.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère