… e estes marços doendo como pedras nos rins, charadas que não invento e nem sei de memória
se há memória além de um domingo de março azul, perfeito. todas as areias rolaram sobre de todas as possíveis clepsidras só o olho-farol, olho brilhante antigo,
a me guiar nas trevas do regresso, não haverá, não haverá porto, viajante, nenhuma Ítaca te espera,
nenhuma Cólchida, nem mesmo os arrecifes no cais de tua infância. apenas a morte suave de olhos tristes tão rápida e indolor, tão limpa guilhotina
… e estas tardes de março viageiras. Sei o peso da ausência, sei a dor das lembranças tatuadas na carne, coladas e desfolhadas como pele queimada que se arranca. nenhuma presença é mais real que a falta, corpo de solidão deslizando entre móveis, marfins, folhas soltas de um livro, marca da prata, desenhos no tapete, cavalos, leão de pedra, lembranças que se acendem em faróis iluminando o outro lado do abismo, o precipício, o vazio, onde tudo se acaba.
…and these aching Marches like kidney stones, riddles I don’t invent nor recall from
if there is memory beyond a blue Sunday in March, perfect. all sands ran through all possible hourglasses, only the lighthouse-eye, that shining antique eye,
to guide me home in the darkness, there will not be, there will not be a port, traveler, no Ithaca waits for you,
no Colchis, not even the reefs at the wharf of your childhood. just the delicate death of sad eyes so fast and painless, so clean the guillotine.
…and these traveling March afternoons. I know the weight of absence, I know the pain of memories tattooed on flesh, taut and peeling like skin burnt and blistered. no presence is more real than absence. lonely body slipping between furniture, ivories, loose pages from a book, silver crest, designs in the rug, horses, stone lion, keepsakes alight in lighthouses illuminating the other side of the abyss, the precipice, the empty, where everything runs out.
Myriam Fraga up until her passing in February 2016 was, and continues to be, one of the leading literary figures of Salvador da Bahia. Born in Salvador in 1937, Fraga counts among her contemporaries the writers Sônia Coutinho and Fernando de Rocha Peres, artist Calazans Neto, and filmmaker Glauber Rocha. She was the long-time friend of the world-famous Jorge Amado and his writer wife Zelia Gattai, as well as the visual artist Carybé. Her first book of poetry, A ilha, was published in 1964 by Edições Macunaíma, Glauber Rocha’s press. She produced over 10 volumes of poetry plus several children’s books on popular figures in Bahian culture. Fraga led the helm at the Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado (the organization responsible for his archival materials) as the institution’s executive director since its inception in 1986. In 2015, she was named the vice president of the Academy of Letters of Bahia.
The major motifs of Fraga’s expansive body of work include the ocean—and by extension islands, voyages, and shipwrecks—; the city, most often Salvador da Bahia; ancestrality; and mythology of such diverse incarnations as African fables, biblical legend, and Greek epic. She tightly weaves this imagery to contemplate on memory and the collective history of Salvador, Brazil, and the world.
This poem is part of a collection entitled Calendário, or Calendar, which includes a poem for each month of the year. “March,” in particular, is a coming to terms with the death of the poet’s father.
Fraga, Myriam. “Março.” Femina. Salvador: Fundação Casa de Jorge Amado, 1996. Print.
Prepared by Chloe Hill