Poems By Alberto Pimenta Translated By Ana Hudson

বাংলা English
Alberto Pimenta
Alberto Pimenta was born in Porto in 1937. From 1960 to 1977 he lived in Germany, where he taught at the University of Heidelberg. He returned to Portugal in 1977, after the Carnation Revolution (1974). He started teaching at the newly established Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Besides being a poet he is also an essayist and a translator. He stands out among his contemporaries by the irreverent nature of his works. There is also a great diversity of media in which he works – poetry, fiction, drama, critical writings, television, happenings and performances. Among his theoretical writings, O silêncio dos poetas (1978) and A magia que tira os pecados do mundo (1995) stand out. The former is a study of concrete and visual poetry, especially that of Brazilian and German poets. The latter is a work based on anti-Platonic theory. Myths, archetypes literature (Dante, Camões, Shakespeare, Fernando Pessoa, António Boto, Emilio Villa, Murilo Mendes, Haroldo de Campos) and plastic artistes (Oskar Kokoschka, Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso) are discussed in this uncommon book. From the nineties his work started engaging directly with globalisation. Ainda há muito para fazer (1998), for example, is a long poem that parodies promotional speeches and the internet, and deals with the social effects of the Kosovo war and the European Union. In 2005, he published Marthiya de Abdel Hamid segundo Alberto Pimenta, a book of poems regarding the US invasion of Iraque. Another of his works that defies any categorisation is the Discurso sobre o filho-da-puta (Discourse on a son of a bitch), written in the form of an essay and published in 1977. His latest book, Ilhíada, was published last year. The account of his first performance in Lisbon after coming back from Germany is recorded in the book Homo sapiens, (1977). In this performance, he locked himself in a cage in Lisbon zoo, next to the cage with two monkeys, with the label “Homo sapiens” stuck to his cage. 
    Out of the three translations reprinted here, one is an unpublished poem of 2011 and two are from Abdel Hamid segundo Alberto Pimenta. The translations are by Ana Hudson.  

again i dreamt of the man
who bends over you
his hands
in your vagina
he touches pushes presses on upwards
reaches your heart
with his nails rips it out 
pulls it with a fishing line
wraps it in a cloth
takes it away
the blood doesn’t stop
you are nearly dead
but you don’t die

you are right
i wouldn’t be able
to satisfy you as intensely
as the man of your dreams


To see you
Only for an instant,
Who are fairer than the moon,
Before the morning gathers
The stars
One by one
To keep them
On the other side of the sky,

I’ll cross
The river
Covered by the searchlights
That change its clear green
Into a phosphorescence
Of frightened waters.

If I’m not killed
Or caught alive,
Be alert,
And keep alert
The most ancient
The most youthful desire.

I’ll walk 
The other side
Of the bullet
Pierced wall:

Pass on to me a silk
With your scent.

Mark it with the secret
Of your lips.


I don’t know
Whether I will ever see again 
The caravans
At dawn 
Crossing the desert
The ruins of Palmyra

The millenarian water wheels
Of Hama
Screeching with effort
As they lift
The water of the Orontes 
Up to the aqueduct
That crowns the city

The landscape
At the foot of Mount Kasyun
Covered by fallen
That became
Pure scattered light:
The city of Damascus

I don’t know
Whether I will ever again
Travel the night journey
On the Bagdad train:
Aleppo, Nineveh,

And whether I will once more
Be able to lift my eyes
And see the beauty of Nahila
Standing on her terrace.

I’ve heard inside myself 
A thunder
That shattered my soul.

To mend it
I don’t know what I’ll have to face.

Ana Hudson
Ana Hudson has a BA in Modern Languages and Literatures from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Portuguese Studies from King’s College London. She is responsible for “Poems from the Portuguese” (www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org), wich she has set up and devised. She lives in England.

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