Portugal

Sandra Santos
2017

as mães movimentam os maiores medos
como quem domestica vulcões
que se adensam pela vida
dos filhos adentro,
ressoando labaredas
torpedos titânicos;
agarrando o coração
pela corda inquietada da mulher
os filhos esgravatam rochedos
arquitectam chegar-lhe perto
em vão a vida voa
parece fugir-lhes do peito
o vagar a vontade
esgotam-se-lhes as palavras
os gestos calados
trovejando no ventre
a maravilhosa possibilidade
do amor ser um éter
amniótico caótico
habitando, maternal, a eternidade.


mothers agitate their biggest fears
as if taming volcanoes
that stiffen deep inside
the life of their children,
resonating flares
titanic torpedoes
holding the heart
by the woman’s distressed cord
the children scrape rocks
they plot an approach
and life flies in vain
like escaping from their chest
wandering at will
with words exhausted
quiet gestures
that thunder in the womb
the wonderful possibility
that love be an ether
amniotic chaotic
inhabiting, maternally, eternity.


Sandra Santos is a poet, writer, and translator from Portugal born in 1994. She holds a B.A. in Languages and International Relations from Universidade do Porto and is currently getting her Master’s degree in Editorial Studies at the Universidade de Aveiro. As a translator, she has published her work in Portugal, Spain, and Latin America, working back and forth in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Her own poetic work can be found online at: http://sandrasantos-ss.blogspot.pt/.

In this poem, Santos explores the relationship between sound, motherhood, and the body. Her writing is constantly marked by the inclusion of violent interruption, both phonetic and semantically. Her verses are composed of images rather than syntactically complete sentences, thus meaning is at times more ambiguous than precise, and most verses are made up of no more than three or four words. Despite the difficulty of attaining the same level of accuracy when a word-by-word translation is not possible in most cases, the poem’s tendency toward interruption -overall- also made an English translation smoother than usual, given that the English language (more than Portuguese) allows for shorter words and beats. In other words, it was possible to maintain a similar rhythm and acoustic of briefness, sometimes even managing to replicate a word accent or syllable count (as in the last verse “habitando, maternal, a eternidade.” that becomes, also leveraged on an etymological proximity, an acoustically close “inhabiting, maternally, eternity.”).

Prepared by Nicolás Barbosa López

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I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.