Lêdo Ivo: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Lêdo Ivo Brazilian Poet


Lêdo Ivo was bom in 1924 in Maceio, Alagoas. He studied in Recife and at the age of nineteen moved to Rio de janeiro definitively. As well as writing poems and novels, he worked as a journalist. In 1986, he was elected to the Academia Brasileira de Letras. He had close friendship with Manuel Bandeira and José Lins do Rego and vas very influenced by Jean-Arthur Rimbaud. He is an important member of the anti-modernist "Generation of 1945".

The Bats

Bats hide in the eaves of the customs house.
But where do the men hide who also fly
their whole lives in the dark,
bumping against white walls of Love?

Our father´s house was full of bats
hanging like lanterns from the old rafters
that supported the roof threatened by the rain.
“These children such our blood”, my father would sigh.

What na Will throw the first Stone at that mammal
who, like himself, is nourished by the blood of animals
(my brother! my brother!) and, banded together, demands
the sweat of this kind even in the dark?

Man hides on the halo of a breast as Young as the night;
on the down of his pillow, in the lamp light
man watches over the golden coins of his love.
But the bat, sleeping like a pendulum, only safeguards the offended day.

When He died, our father left us (myself and my eight brothers)
his house wher it rained at night through the broken tiles.
We redeemed the loan and saved the bats.
Now they wrangle between the walls: blind like us.

Translated by Kerry Shawn Keyes

The Cloak

On the floor of my childhood
I'll find everything I've lost:
the blue cloak, the picture book,
the photograph of the dead brother
and that cold mouth of yours, your cold mouth.

The blue cloak on the floor of my childhood
covers objects and hallucinations.
A blue cloak, the deepest of blues
found nevermore, for
such a blue exists no longer.

And to all of you, pure or fallen
virgins in winter, so abhorrent in summer,
1 ask of you this deep blue:
cover me with this cloak on my dying day.

When 1 am dying, you can all be sure
a blue cloak, the deepest of blues,
will envelop the whole of me, from head to toe.

Translated by KCS Tolentino


Beneath the cancioneiros gentle shade
Though youthful syet, a haven I behold,
For I am tired of time and cannot mould
My verse in metres dignified and said,

As my last verse should be;/s the first I made
Are sung already, but without sthe old
Accent upon ther purê ando on the bold
Of songs eternal that will never fade.

I follow the rivers tha sing upon their way
The imortal slyric of the sser outcastsl,
Who, being in Babylon, sighs for Mandalay;

Taking a woman with me, I shall stray
And shall become, while plunging in the past,
More modern and more ancient everey day.

Translated by Leonards S. Downes