First Elegy

By ALBERTO DE LACERDA
Translated by SCOTT LAUGHLIN

The soft whisper of a river
Mingling slowly
With another river: a force
Surging around us
The profound peace
Of this natural rhythm

The soft whisper of a river: the thin
Repetition of the infinite
Always the same sound
But also something different
A weight so profound
It breaks its own barriers
And pierces the extreme edge
Of its inner horizon
A song without end
Beyond thought
Rising from nature or from within us
A song without end
Finally soothing
The force of our questions
Our sorrow, our divided lives
Surging around us
A natural presence
Slow and brilliant
Rising within us and carrying
A light without limits
Our individual being
And the universe both reflected
In this blissful, flowing water

 

ALBERTO DE LACERDA is considered one of the greatest and most prolific Portuguese poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in 1928 in Mozambique, he spent his nomadic life living in Lisbon, London, Austin, and Boston, where he was a professor at Boston University. He died in 2007. 

SCOTT LAUGHLIN’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, Great Jones Street, Post Road Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. Scott has an MFA from Converse College and is associate director of DISQUIET: The Dzanc Books Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. He currently teaches at San Francisco University High School.

 

[Purchase Issue 14 here]

 

Madeline RuoffFirst Elegy

Related Posts

Tesserae Flyer

Tesserae Poetry Feature: Part Two

LESLIE MARIE AGUILAR
Half past eleven & the desert shoulders a sequence of stars for the eighth year in a row. Maia. Electra. Alcyone. Taygete. I call each saddled sister by name. Asterope. Celaeno. Merope. Imagine what it must be like to be illuminated. Stitched into an unraveling tapestry.

tesserae flyer

Tesserae Poetry Feature: Part One

KIRUN KAPUR, MARÍA LUISA ARROYO, OCEAN VUONG
Begin with a seed. Begin with the father and the mother, your first Adam and Eve. Begin with what falls from the tree: you can live on bruised and sweet. Begin with a monsoon breeze, begin with a flood, begin with miles of silk and mud and the wings of cranes...

March 2018 Poetry Feature: Print Preview

JILL MCDONOUGH, OKSANA MAKSYMCHUK, JOHN ALLEN TAYLOR
I've read about Waterloo teeth, how we prowled / battlefields, plucked teeth from young French corpses, / wired them up to make fresh rich people mouths. / I figure we're about to learn the founding father's teeth / were from his soldiers.