Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Nuno Júdice

Recipe for Making the Colour Blue

If you wish to make the colour blue
take a piece of sky and put it in a pot
large enough to place on the flame of the horizon.
Stir into the blue a pinch of early morning red
until it dissolves. Pour everything
into a brass bowl that has been well washed
to eliminate all of the afternoon’s impurities.
Finally, sift in a few smidgens of gold from the sand
of midday until the colour adheres to the bottom of the bowl.
To prevent the colours from separating with time,
drop a charred peach pit into the liquid.
It will disintegrate, leaving no telltale
sign, not even – from the black ash – an ochre trace
on the golden surface. You may then raise the colour
to eye level and compare it with genuine blue.
The two colours will look so alike
that you cannot distinguish one from the other.
This was how I did it – I, Abraham ben Judah Ibn Haim,
illuminator from the town of Loulé. And I left the recipe
for whoever, one day, would imitate the sky.

Receita para fazer azul

Receita para fazer azul

Se quiseres fazer azul,
pega num pedaço de céu e mete-o numa panela grande,
que possas levar ao lume do horizonte;
depois mexe o azul com um resto de vermelho
da madrugada, até que ele se desfaça;
despeja tudo num bacio bem limpo,
para que nada reste das impurezas da tarde.
Por fim, peneira um resto de ouro da areia
do meio-dia, até que a cor pegue ao fundo de metal.
Se quiseres, para que as cores se não desprendam
com o tempo, deita no líquido um caroço de pêssego queimado.
Vê-lo-ás desfazer-se, sem deixar sinais de que alguma vez
ali o puseste; e nem o negro da cinza deixará um resto de ocre
na superfície dourada. Podes, então, levantar a cor
até à altura dos olhos, e compará-la com o azul autêntico.
Ambas as cores te parecerão semelhantes, sem que
possas distinguir entre uma e outra.
Assim o fiz – eu, Abraão ben Judá Ibn Haim,
iluminador de Loulé – e deixei a receita a quem quiser,
algum dia, imitar o céu.
Close

Recipe for Making the Colour Blue

If you wish to make the colour blue
take a piece of sky and put it in a pot
large enough to place on the flame of the horizon.
Stir into the blue a pinch of early morning red
until it dissolves. Pour everything
into a brass bowl that has been well washed
to eliminate all of the afternoon’s impurities.
Finally, sift in a few smidgens of gold from the sand
of midday until the colour adheres to the bottom of the bowl.
To prevent the colours from separating with time,
drop a charred peach pit into the liquid.
It will disintegrate, leaving no telltale
sign, not even – from the black ash – an ochre trace
on the golden surface. You may then raise the colour
to eye level and compare it with genuine blue.
The two colours will look so alike
that you cannot distinguish one from the other.
This was how I did it – I, Abraham ben Judah Ibn Haim,
illuminator from the town of Loulé. And I left the recipe
for whoever, one day, would imitate the sky.

Recipe for Making the Colour Blue

If you wish to make the colour blue
take a piece of sky and put it in a pot
large enough to place on the flame of the horizon.
Stir into the blue a pinch of early morning red
until it dissolves. Pour everything
into a brass bowl that has been well washed
to eliminate all of the afternoon’s impurities.
Finally, sift in a few smidgens of gold from the sand
of midday until the colour adheres to the bottom of the bowl.
To prevent the colours from separating with time,
drop a charred peach pit into the liquid.
It will disintegrate, leaving no telltale
sign, not even – from the black ash – an ochre trace
on the golden surface. You may then raise the colour
to eye level and compare it with genuine blue.
The two colours will look so alike
that you cannot distinguish one from the other.
This was how I did it – I, Abraham ben Judah Ibn Haim,
illuminator from the town of Loulé. And I left the recipe
for whoever, one day, would imitate the sky.
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