Pedro Kilkerry: Biography and Poems | Brazilian Poetry

Pedro Kilkerry Brazilian Poet


Pedro Militão dos Santos Kilkerry (March 10, 1885 – March 25, 1917) was a Brazilian journalist and Parnassian/Symbolist poet. He was born in Santo Antônio de Jesus, in the state of Bahia, on March 10, 1885. His father, John Kilkerry, was a British engineer, and his mother, Salustiana do Sacramento Lima, was a freed Afro-Brazilian slave. Poor and bohemian, details about Kilkerry's life are very sparse, but it is known that he wrote some poems and articles for newspapers such as Os Anais and A Nova Cruzada before dying prematurely due to tuberculosis. He never published any book during his lifetime. His work remained forgotten for many years, until it was rediscovered in the 1950s by Brazilian essayist and literary critic Andrade Muricy. Augusto de Campos would praise Kilkerry in his 1970 work (Re)Visão de Kilkerry as a forerunner of the Modernist poetry in Brazil.

It's the Silence

It's the silence, it's the cigarette and the lit candle.
The bookcase looks at me in every book that looks.
And the light on one of the volumes on the table ...
But it is the blood of the light on each page.

I do not know if it is really my hand that wets
The pen, or really instinct that grips it tightly.
I think of a present, of a past. And your nature
Covers Nature itself with leaves.
But it is a meddling with things. . . Agitated

I take up my pen, I dupe myself into thinking I describe
The illusion of one sense and another sense.
So distant it goes!
So distant your step becomes soft
A wing that the ear animates...
And the chamber mute. And the parlor mute, mute...
Voicelessly red. The wing of the rhyme
Holds me aloft. I remain there like a new
Buddha, a specter to the approaching sound,
The bookcase grows as if shaking off
A nightmare of papers piled on top...

And I open the window. From the moon
Are wisping some last wavering notes.. . The day
Will bloom late through the mountain.
And oh! my beloved, feeling is blind ...
Do you see? To my longing contribute the spider,
A cat's paws and a bat's wings.

Mare Vitae

"Row! row!" And the small boat
Went gliding, as though the water dreamed.
Standing in the bow was the ganfalonier—
"Row! row!"—my own Sorrow.

Fading in color, quickly, is an illusion. And I drown it
To the war song's sound of fire
Still gliding as though the water dreamed
"Row! row!"—the small boat.
But suddenly a voice. Moaning,
Under the concave silence of the stars
Who sings thus of love? I don't understand .. .

And oh! Death—I said—this song terrifies me:
Don't deny that the pulsating masts tremble
At the red sound of the war song.
Translated by Mark A. Lokensgard