Carlos Drummond de Andrade
“The Flower and the Nausea” (1946)
Translated by Viviane Carvalho da Annunciacao
Stuck to my class and to a few clothes
I walk in white through the grey street
Melancholies, marketers peep on me.
Shall I go until nausea?
Shall I, without arms, rebel?
Filthy eyes on the clock of the tower.
No, the time is yet to come of complete justice
Time is yet of stool, bad poems, hallucinations and wait.
The poor time, the poor poet
are cast in the same deadlock.
In vain, I try to explain, the murals are deaf.
Under the skin of words, there are ciphers and codes.
The sun consoles the sick but do not heal them
The things. How sad are the things considered with no emphasis.
To vomit dullness through the city.
Forty years and no problem
solved, even posed.
No letter ever written, nor received.
All men go back home.
They are less free and yet they carry the paper
and spell the world, even though knowing they’ve lost it.
Crimes of the Erath. How to forgive them?
I took part in many, others I hid.
I found some beautiful, they were published.
Soft crimes which help to survive.
Diary ratio of mistake, distributed through the house.
The ferocious bakers of the evil.
The ferocious milkmen of the evil.
Set fire in everything including me
In the 1918 boy they used to call anarchist
But my hate is my best
I am saved by it
and, to the few, a little hope I give
A flower was born on the street!
Away you go, streetcars, buses, steel river of traffic.
A lack-lustre flower
tricks the police, tears the asphalt
I beg of you to silence, paralyse the business
I assure you a flower was born.
Its colour is not perceived.
Its petals are not opened
Its name is not on books
I sit on the pavement in the capital of the country at five o’clock in the afternoon
and slowly I stroke its insecure form
Beside the mountains, massive clouds gather head.
Little white spots moved into the sea, hens in panic
It’s ugly. But it’s still a flower. It has pierced the asphalt, the dullness, the disgust and the hate.