It is the circle where hearts meet

Hi, folks,

Next on my series of posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have four poems by Brazilian author Henriqueta Lisboa, trabslated by Hélcio Veiga Costa. You can find the whole series here, along with other Brazilian gems. Enjoy!

Yours truly,



Come to see the camellia,
born at daybreak,
before the sun tans
its skin.

So mild in its privacy. It is the circle
where hearts meet. The bond
of mutual understanding. The wings
of the angel clenched by peace. The dove
which perches upon the offered palm. The moon
that has forgotten the clouds and is still
in an unadorned intimacy. The soft
and white knot of friendship. The nest
that closes itself—perfect.

(Henriqueta Lisboa, tr. Hélcio Veiga Costa. Source: Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Edition, edited by Stephen Tapscott, 1996)


A salt stone
becomes part of the ocean — so little! —
The soul remained lighter
than the body.
The music, far beyond
the instrument.
Of the lever,
its reason of being: the impetus.
Only the seal remains, the finishing
of the work.
The light which survives the star
and is its crown.
The wonderful. The immortal.
What I lost was so little.
But it was what I loved best.

(Henriqueta Lisboa, tr. Hélcio Veiga Costa. Source: Poemas escolhidos: Chosen Poems, 1981)


In loneliness the fruit
picked from the branch ripens
before the sun rose.
Before the winds lulled it
in the rustling of the grove.
Before the moon called on it
from its high and still worlds.
Before the rains touched
its soft skin as their will.
Before the bird sipped
the juice of the throb of
its sap, in their first meeting.
In solitude one tastes
the sour-pressed fruit.
But all along its essence
now rootless, without core and stem
the password miraculously endures.
Then in the shade it divines
the sun which changes it into sun
by means of soft and slow dabs.
It listens to the secret of those woods
where the winds hushed up.
And it dreams of unseen dews
close to the cremated skin.
And it conceives the image of the moon
inside its own whiteness.
And it accepts the bird that has no resting place
which sweetly teaches it how to be sweeter.

(Henriqueta Lisboa, tr. Hélcio Veiga Costa. Source: Poemas escolhidos: Chosen Poems, 1981)


Even now and always
the complaisant love.
In profile from the front
with life everlasting.
And if more absent
at every moment
so much more present
as time goes by
to the soul that allows
in the greatest silence
to keep it inside
the burning dimness
without forgetfulness
never forever

(Henriqueta Lisboa, tr. Hélcio Veiga Costa. Source: Poemas escolhidos: Chosen Poems, 1981)

Piet Mondrien, White Rose in a Glass, 1921.

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  1. I’m really enjoying these poetic posts of yours – thank you! 😁



    1. Thank you, Karen! I am glad you are enjoying it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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