Urzelina 93

They are still ablaze, the eyes

of the fishes under these blood-red waters

in eighteen-hundred-eight,

and they are select, the oranges

of that May, suspended

between the branch and the act of picking them

(Blood oranges,

who will pick them?

Not Roberto,

who isn’t from around here).

The Old Bell Tower stands guard

over the Channel

and to Lacerda’s ballads it marks

the adagio assai of their tempo:

«I have as many saudades

as the sea has grains of sand…»

– what cliff will shelter

the bird that, in the voice of Mar-

garida gains altitude?

Like Ulysses I reject deafness:

I raise from the ground the stick spared by the fire,

I shall cling to it as I row

from shore to shore

from island to island.

Translation  by Katharine F. Baker 

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