Novas Poéticas de Resistência: o século XXI em Portugal


João Rasteiro



a little prayer for a familiar geography


                                                                       I hoped to cover the earth again with joy

                                                                       be an offering ripe as a date

                                                                       imitating the thick voraciousness

                                                                       of an old mother

                                                                       who unbending is the arch of herself

                                                                       but you shall be orchard against a background

                                                                       of green vase

                                                                       folded upon the dilatation of the lit up houses

                                                                       older than the furious fire of the syllable.


                                                                       And I know about a silence of dark springs

                                                                       and I say that all love is a vault

                                                                       of small volcanoes

                                                                       that fall asleep by the clay

                                                                       dying between lilies and the life-bringing rain

                                                                       and I see the maternal odour

                                                                       blending clay and colour

                                                                       bodies laid inside green shells under the heart.


                                                                       But you, o lightening that crashes like a plumb to the deep

                                                                       the light ripped off the nocturnal snares,

                                                                       o obscure comet tearing through the miracle?


                                                                       From the place assigned to the water-pots

                                                                       I await the work

                                                                       blind in the wind-pipe secret

                                                                       of the women who nurture birds and wheat

                                                                       in the deepest cisterns

                                                                       under the pure green of orange trees

                                                                       a Hail Mary as an immeasurable mouth alive

                                                                       an old geography – the power

                                                                       magnetic of creation

                                                                       folded upon itself by tears sweet and grown in years.

The chant of plagues


At the mouth of a tunnel is a man

with a banner. He waves at the snake,

responding to a sign.

Jaime Rocha



It is from flamed words

that sovereign death irradiates

the besieged places blasphemy of silence.

All die in the available words

only the sad crows

whose beak was welded in the silver glit

cunningly hold death

in the whiteness of visible water tunics.

It is in that ancestral space

where thirsty men went before

to feed the fracture of the guts

sipping belly-down with the snakes

that rain pours down geometrical

splintering the ballast of the throat

that keeps syllables with a taste of linden.


The man is dead inside the poem

like the language of ancient scriptures

and his body is shining through the whiteness.

Snakes burst out from the ground

meek take sanctuary in the algid tunics

come close to the body of the man exposed

lit by their own madness.

They swallow the remains of the corrupted flesh

inexplicably they do spare his eyes - then

then they taste that which will consume

Their tongues forever, the heart of entrails.


The secret absolute and divine of the extermination of the word.





João Rasteiro (Coimbra, 1965). A poet and an essayist, João Rasteiro has translated several poems by Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Miro Villa, and Juan C. G. Hoyuelos. He is a member of Associação Portuguesa de Escritores and of the Editorial Boards of Oficina de Poesia (Portugal) and Confraria do Vento (Brazil). His poems have appeared in different magazines and anthologies in Portugal, Brazil, Colombia, Italy and Spain. Some of his works have been translated into Spanish, Italian, English, French and Finnish. He is author of the books A Respiração das Vértebras (Sagesse, 2001), No Centro do Arco (Palimage, 2003), Os Cílios Maternos (Palimage, 2005), O Búzio de Istambul (Palimage, 2008) and Pedro e Inês ou As Madrugadas Esculpidas (Apenas Editora, 2009). He has been awarded a number of literary prizes including Segnalazione di Merito at the Concurso Internacionale de Poesia: Publio Virgilio Marone (Itália-2003) as well as the 1st prize of the Cinco Povos Cinco Nações Poetry and Short-Story Contest (2004).