Augusto dos Anjos: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Augusto dos Anjos Brazilian Poet


Augusto de Carvalho Rodrigues dos Anjos (April 20, 1884 – November 12, 1914) was a Brazilian poet and professor. His poems speak mostly of sickness and death, and are considered the forerunners of Modernism in Brazil. Augusto dos Anjos published only one book during his lifetime, named Eu. The themes of its poems, that are impregnated with a heavily scatological medical, scientific and philosophical vocabulary, are mostly sickness, death, heavy morbidity and pessimism. Literary critics are not sure to which literary movement Augusto dos Anjos belong: some say he was a Symbolist and some say he was a Parnassian, although Ferreira Gullar classifies him as being a Pre-Modernist.

Intimate verses

Look! No one saw the amazing
Burial of your one final dream.
Only the ungrateful and mean
Gave you a shoulder for weeping!

Get used to the cesspit that awaits!
Man, in this miserable land,
Surrounded by wild beasts, can only stand
By dishing out even stronger bites.

Take a match – light your cigarette!
The kiss, the friend, precedes the spit,
The hand caresses – before the stick.

If someone saves you from hell,
Stone the hand that treats you well,
Spit on those who try to kiss you!

Translated by Daniel Vianna

Immortal Lust

Do you really think that life-giving bliss,
The driving hunger of eurythmic atoms,
Will abort the molecules in motion
At the time when our flesh becomes putrid?!

No! This radial light that burns Being,
To perpetuate a victorious Species,
Tragically, even after we decease,
Inside the bones – goes on – keeps on – burning!

Deaf from abuses and offenses,
Our fleshless carcasses,
Convulsing and contorting the core,

Exhaling sulfuric gases from the tomb,
With the fresh lust of new bones,
Will yet press together more!

Translated by Daniel Vianna

A Philosopher’s Agony

I read the Phtah-Hotep, I read the obsolete
Rig-Veda. Yet nothing gives me rest…
The Unconscious haunts me and I swirl possesed,
Restless harmattan in aeolian rage!

I’m witness here to an insect’s death!…
Alas! Now all phenomena of earth
From pole to pole seem to make real
Anaximader of Miletus’s ideal!

Atop the heterogeneous hieratic areopagus
Of Ideas I wander, a lost magus,
From Haeckel’s soul to souls of Cenobites!..

The thick veiling of secret worlds I tear;
And just like Goethe, I catch the sight:
Of universal substance ruling there!

Translated by Odile Cisneros