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-
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.
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).