The force that drives the blind against the light

Miserere Nobis

– by Miguel Torga

What a verse takes!
At this time,
how many poets, like me, are waiting!
Winter is gone, spring came,
the night fell, the dawn is up,
and the voice of
all of us
trapped in a strangled throat!

No sign in heaven of the next miracle;
the diviners hardly divine us;
and, for countless years,
the other humans
simply weave
the web of routine,
just as instinct teaches them.

There remains the force
that drives the blind against the light.
To have confidence is to undo
half of the knot of time that fate tightens.
Supreme discovery
of others who, in the past, have not despaired,
and were rewarded, and sang.

But this hostile silence
weighs like grief.
And the certainty of death,
glued to the body,
hurts like the rage of a cilice.
What a strange
misfortune,
if silence supasses
our life!

(translated by me)


Original poem in Portuguese

Miserere Nobis

O que um verso demora!
A esta mesma hora,
Quantos poetas, como eu, à espera!…
Passou o inverno, veio a primavera,
Deitou-se a noite, ergueu-se a madrugada,
E a voz
de todos nós
Cativa na garganta estrangulada!

Nenhum sinal no céu de próximo milagre;
Os adivinhos mal nos adivinham;
E os restantes humanos,
Há infinitos anos
Que apenas tecem
A teia da rotina,
Como o instinto os ensina.

E resta-nos a força
Que empurra os cegos contra a claridade.
Ter confiança é deslaçar metade
Do nó do tempo que o destino aperta.
Suprema descoberta
Doutros que no passado não desesperaram,
E foram premiados, e cantaram.

Mas pesa como um luto
Este silêncio hostil.
E fere como a raiva dum cilício
A certeza da morte
Colada ao corpo.
Que desgraça
Desconhecida,
Se a mudez ultrapassa
A nossa vida!

Source: Orfeu rebelde (1958)


Félix Vallotton. Sunset.

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