Lindolf Bell: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Lindolf Bell Brazilian Poet


Lindolf Bell was born in Timbó, Santa Catarina. He graduated in drama from the Escola de Arte Dramática of São Paulo under the direction of Alfredo Mesquita. He took part in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (1968-1969) and taught art history at the Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Santa Catarina. In 1964 he started a literary movement called "Catequese Poética" ("Poetical Catechism") taking poetry to the streets, and to stadiuns, factories, universities, bars, and other public places. In 1974 he printed poema on T-shirts and called them Corpoemas (Body Poems) created in Santa Catarina the first Square of the Poem with poems engraved on large stones. In 1981 also he received the Miguel de Cervantes Prize from the state of São Paulo, which enabled him to travel to Spain and Portugal.

Poem to a Young Man

Let me play Love's last card
for the love of Death transfigures me.

Let me play Dark's final hand
for l need the deepest darkness to catch a flash of light.
Oh, how vast is my purity;
The world envelops me with its wings
and an angel with wings greater than its body
leaves the door open
and the fugitive
places the key under the rug
with a gold arrow indicating the spot.

Let me play the last card
for the night seems like a great fair.
A proud guest l go into solitude,
into the place of secret desire,
into the alabaster kingdom
and into the square with buildings
lacking the dimension of dark.

Weary of life,
let me play Love's last card,
for this is my niche, my body,
and my watchtower.

Translated by William Jay Smith

Small Farm

No limits are impassable.
Nor infinite
on the small farm.
The land persists
and man remains
the substance of all things.

The speed of light is neither written
nor taught
on the small farm.
The farmer's eyes
light up the land
and guard the day under wrinkled eyelids
while he sleeps.
He walks crooked in his dreams
as a crooked man walks in life.

Griefs, sorrows.
Fertile celebration of circumstances.
No enigmas
nor ambiguities wrought from absence
on the small farm.
Ali is round:
curiosity, fright, family ties,
splendors with little futility

No one goes anywhere
without carrying with him the hush of mystery
The small farm is born
in the land of the word.

Bury me in the word.

Translated by Richard Zenith


Here l am
in the rnid-20th century
exiled by Plato.
Inside life's circle
no more open
than a no.

What shall l do in this season
between earth and ironic heaven?
In aspiraling heart
and a season of green grapes?

l put together a poem.
l take myself apart.
l undo myself like a string
from a box emptied of presents.

And while l come apart in the poem
l tune in to world feeling:
exile comes from nowhere.
It comes only from homesickness.

Translated by Richard Zenith