Jorge de Lima: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Jorge de Lima Brazilian Poet


Jorge Mateus de Lima (April 23, 1893 – November 15, 1953) was a Brazilian politician, physician, poet, novelist, biographer, essayist, translator and painter. His poetry was initially composed in Alexandrine form, but he later became a modernist.

The Words Will Ressurrect

The words have grown old inside men
And separated into islands,
The words have mummified in the mouths of legislators;
The words have rotted in the promises of tryants;
The words mean nothing in the speeches of politicians.
And Word of God is one despite the sacrilege
of the men of Babel,
Despite the sacrilege of the men of today.
And can it be that the immortal word will sicken?
And can it be that the great Semitic word will disappear?
And can it be that the poet was not designated to give
the word new life?
To pick it from the surface of the waters and offer it
again to the men of the continent?
And was he not appointed to restore its essence,
and to reconstitute its magic content?
Does the poet not see the communion of languages,
When men will reconquer the attributes lost with The Fall,
And when the nations founded after Babel will be destroyed?
When all the confusion is undone,
Will the poet not speak form wherever he is,
To all men on earth, in one single language —
the language of the Spirit?
But should you live sunk in time and in space,
You sill not understand me, brother!

The River And The Serpent

The river and the serpent are mysterious, my son.
On the top of the mountain
Were two circles of the Eternal.
One circle was the serpent.
The other circle was the river:
Both precipitated,
Both came searching for man,
One to purify him,
The other to poison him..
Down there they both found
The simple man.
One offered him the Fish to feed him,
The other offered him the fruit to intoxicate him.
The river and the serpent are mysterious, my son.
From the clowds they precipitated,
Both are crawling on the earth
Like the two ways of man,
For him to choose as his guide.
The river and the serpent are mysterious my son:
They come from the beginning of things,
They run towards the end of everything
And sometimes in the water of the river
You will find the black serpent.
Things were simple, my son,
But they became confused:
The river that washes you
Can also drown you,
For under the appearance of the river
Slides the serpent.
The river and the serpent are mysterious, my son:
In the brightening they were two circles,
From there they came uncoiled.

The Sleep Before

Stop everything that keeps me form sleep:
Those cranes in the night,
that violent wind,
The last thought of those suicides.
Stop everything that keeps me from sleep:
Those infernal ghosts that open my eyelids,
This acceleration of my hear,
This echoing of things deserted and dumb.
Stop everything that keeps me from returning
to the sunlit sleep
That God gave me
Before He created me.

Translated by John Nist