Poems in English

Catholic Labour Youth

I cannot help this feeling of guilt I bear upon my shoulders
for not spending more of my energies in the revolutionary action
in the struggle for doing something for the place I live in, this country with no exit
nor place from where to look at something besides a somewhat insipid sunset
with that constant soundtrack of the annoying voices of women
selling lupin seeds and pips, bags of unopened peanuts,
a football running commentary on a battery radio, a child being called by his name,
all of those things that never sound odd to whoever lives in this country.

I cannot help this feeling of guilt I bear upon my shoulders
for not spending more of my hours visiting churches on sundays
and on all other weekdays, making people see that there are
words stronger than others, that although not granting us salvation
they might help us go about the world differently,
taller, stronger, certainly more aware of the place
we belong to and which we call home, contentment, perhaps even love,
all of those things that always sound distant when we live here.

I cannot help this feeling of guilt I bear upon my shoulders
and yet my life is not one of those standing still, doing nothing
so as to change all of what was done before us,
no, I am still moving and exerting the revolutionary action among people,
I am breathing in words and offering them, with open hands, not only on sundays,
but on all weekdays and yet, this heavy guilt on my back
this trouble in accepting my incomplete frail country, on a format
that hurts my skin, muscles and thoughts, and which I cannot let go of.

To Manuel Gusmão

I am not one of those who regret the Carnation Revolution, in fact,
how can my body be said without that perspective from the street
where hands meet, tearing shirts, pulling hairs,
swallowing with chewing teeth those few words that
remain with us while escorting, without solemnity, the march
down the Avenue.

I am not a memory of myself, a coat abandoned
in a classroom where a teacher holds, with both hands,
some woeful unwritten poems, searching in every nook
where nothing was written invisible passages to what is still
to be said, not only by the body of men, by the power of an
earthly divine.

I am not one who regrets, I am not what I still need to see
when I put down my glasses over the libraries, I am not a
stigmatized countryman, I am not an illiterate, I do not consume
love in small fires, I go down the Avenue and see greater
worlds, I am the light of emotion on all things lived,
I am body, clothing, adventure, woman.

Translated by Vasco Gato