Mário Quintana: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Mario Quintana Brazilian Poet


Mário de Miranda Quintana (July 30, 1906 – May 5, 1994) was a Brazilian writer and translator. He became known as the poet of "simple things", and his style is marked by irony, profundity and technical perfection. The main themes of his poetry include death, the lost childhood and time. Quintana also worked as a journalist and translated into Portuguese innumerable books, such as Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.


There they are, all the while
Standing there in my way:
They will well and wile
and I will while away!

Translated by John Howard

The Contra’s Little Poem

All of those who may
Forbid me to fly:
They will pass away
I’m passing by

Translated by Eduardo Miranda

Wee Protest Poem

All them folk there over yon
My path they do defy,
They’ll tweet along.
I Tweetie Pie!

Translated by Sarah Kersley


If you love me, love me discreetly
Don’t shout it from the rooftops
Don’t disturb the birds
Don’t disturb me!
If you love me,
That’s all right,
But take it easy, darling,
For life is short, and love is shorter still …

Translated by Giovanni Pontiero

Man and Water

Let me be what I am,
what I have always been,
a river that keeps flowing.

And my destiny is to follow...follow to the sea.
The sea, where everything begins again...
Where everything is renewed...

Translated by Eduardo San Martin


Way up in the 12th floor of the Year
Lives a crazy lady called Hope
She thinks that when every firework crack
All the bells sound
All the drums play
She will jump
-Oh, such a delightful flight!
Then, on the sidewalk, like a miracle, she´ll resemble
a child once again,
And around her, people will ask:
- What´s your name, green-eyed little girl?

And she´ll tell them
(They have to be told time and again!)
She´ll tell them, slowly, so they won´t forget:
My name is H-O-P-E…

Translated by by Rita Cammarota