Tuesday, September 1, 2020



Heavenly Leprosy

I speak about the quay, the alleys, the heavenly leprosy
from a verse by Paul Celan

ripping the wounds
with the face hidden in time.
I speak of mediumistic organs, suspended diaphragms,
cloves of water,
and of the body divided into white citadels.

One day, I climbed the silent trees and visited
the underground malls
towards the timeless katabasis.
I visited squares, streets, broad galleries,
I woke up with blueberries and,
led by some supreme being,
I visited the land of the dead, bound by bile;
the navel cut in the ice chords.

One day, carried away by the secret omens
and the braids of rain, I climbed up
to the palaces, to the heavenly mansions;
the black enzymes working out
the mysterious chemistry of blue alveoli
among corpses already liquefied;
devoured bodies shining under the starry sky
fully pouring darkest ashes.

One day —

the blackbirds chatted in a strange tongue.
In the gentle slopes echoed murmuring waters,
white melodies, feverish meninges.
The dead moved on white slopes
between sweet dates and deserts.
On the wings, temples and bright oases,
covered with wheat and lymph,
blackbirds devoured my body,
offering my name to some nocturnal god,
between capricious crevices
and libations of an ancient moonlight.

Hemlock Flowers

I am a name uttered among
white stars,
facing your hands, the world,
a shipwreck of harps,
a broken mask;
you are a sound of violins
echoing in the woods.
I am the bright melody,
the dark sandalwood,
a name they want to steal from you
between honeysuckle, rosemary,
cynical grimaces,
poisoned syrops
and white hemlock flowers.

Evergreen Ivy

One day, someone was knocking
on my tomb.
Why don’t you get out?
- someone said.
- How can I reply other than
with the black verses
of that first crippled Spring?
I was dreaming – I know.
But the dream still returns,
as in the past,
when dreams were tombs
where verses got bogged down
and my vineyards were blocked
in sober silence.
Then, the spells of light started
moving slowly.
Out of the darkness, I started
by writing about my uneasy,
secret, absolute body,
back into the orchards of life
where I met you,
by climbing
branches of evergreen ivy.


MARIA DO SAMEIRO BARROSO (Portugal) is a medical doctor and a multilingual poet, translator, essayist and researcher in Portuguese and German Literature, translations studies and History of Medicine. She has authored over 40 books of poetry, published in Portugal, Brazil, Spain, France, Serbia, Belgium, Albany, USA, and translations and essays. Her poems are translated into over twenty languages. She was awarded the Prize of the Académie Européene des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres (AESAL) 2020.

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