Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sonnet on Separation - Vinicius de Moraes

Ahhh.... Vinicius de Moraes (1913-1980)!  Probably the most beloved and popular Brazilian poet of the last fifty years.  Boulevadier of Rio's grand avenues, raconteur, bon vivant, diplomat (posted to France, UNESCO, and Los Angeles!), playwright, performer, acclaimed lyricist of the Bossa Nova period, especially in collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim, and later with Chico Buarque, Baden Powell, and others. 

Vinicius lived large, married eight times (tying Mickey Rooney and Larry King!), wrote beautiful, beautiful poems that celebrated and embodied everything Brazilian, especially the embracing equally of life's joys and tribulations.  One of his plays became the movie "Black Orpheus", which, in 1959, hit the trifecta, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture here and the equivalent awards in France and England.  (It's a MUST see, for the music and dancing alone!)  Perhaps his best known work worldwide are the lyrics to "The Girl From Ipanema".  Coincidentally, I was in Rio, on my first trip back to Brazil since leaving for America as a teenager, when he died in July 1980.  I remember seeing people in the hotel bar and club dancing to his songs while crying at the same.  I chose this poem because it encompasses that duality of living/loving fully while accepting how quickly it can change.  (If you click on his name at the end of the poem, it will take you to a site where you can both read more about him and hear some of the songs he wrote.)
Sonnet on Separation
                                                              translated from Portuguese by Ashley Brown
Suddenly laughter became sobbing
Silent and white like the mist
And united mouths became foam
And upturned hands became astonished.

Suddenly the calm became the wind
That extinguished the last flame in the eyes
And passion became foreboding
And the still moment became drama.

Suddenly, no more than suddenly
He who’d become a lover became sad
And he who’d become content became lonely

The near became the distant friend
Life became a vagrant venture
Suddenly, no more than suddenly.
                                                                                Vinicius de Moraes  - Brazilian

No comments: