Nessa and Elizabeth have both been sick again. Nessa was up much of the night last night, and her fever went as high as 105. Elizabeth worked last night but will thankfully be staying home tonight. Tobin still seems to be full of vinegar and pepper, more and more every day we think.

My two lit classes are meeting together tomorrow to read poems in preparation for Good Friday (an event planned and led by a guest teacher). One of the poems that the students are working on is by a Brazilian poet, Adélia Prado (born 1935). She started writing at the age of 40. Much of her outlook is deeply Catholic. Ellen Watson translated Prado’s poems into English and published them in The Alphabet in the Park (Wesleyan University Press, 1990).

by Adélia Prado

What a beautiful poem if I can write it.
There’s no shortage of tormented things,
farm produce awaiting transport,
and everything necessary:
I must make dinner.
Or supposedly ethical:
someone knocking at the gate—
Aunt Alzi hurries to the side yard to turn the panties
crotchside down on the grass.
An orange tree beginning to sprout:
a precious wildness presenting thorns,
miniature leaves, flowers whose petals
cluster in beads of sweet-smelling gold.
They explain the world as young chickens do,
perfect down to the nails, a plumed, living,
invincible delicateness
no man ever made with his hands.
Startled in bed with his hands over his ears,
the young man was saying: I can’t sleep: it’s the music from
the bar,
that rooster of yours crowing at all the wrong times.
Not true. It’s because of life he can’t sleep,
because of the hum that life makes.
He wants to get married and can’t,
his job is lousy,
his pancreas a lazy ingrate.
I’m married and suffer as much.
The day goes by, the night, I step out of the shade and say:
This is all I want—
to sit in the sun until my hide is wrinkled.
But the sun, too, will disappear behind the hill,
night comes and passes over me:
far from mirrors, I feed dreams
of fame and travel, extraordinary men
offering me necklaces, words
that can be eaten, they’re so sweet,
so warm, so corporeal.
The trellis sags with flowers,
I sleep a drunken sleep,
judging the beauty of the world negligible,
craving something that neither dies nor withers,
is neither tall nor distant,
nor avoids meeting my hard, ravenous look.
Unmoving beauty:
the face of God, which will kill my hunger.

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