Incomplete silence | A poem by Lêdo Ivo, 1924-2012

Shoda Koho Moonlit Sea 1930s

Shoda Koho, Moonlit Sea, 1930s

What an among so many sounds!
Now, and only now, they are trying to tell us
that they loved and they forgot, and always remained far
from any final truth. Love is an unredeemable
debt contracted in the dark
and only death can free the debtors from default.

Everything will reach its end in an ocean of shadows.
The dead also cease, after so many tears,
and masses sung and notices in the daily newspapers.
We are born to evaporate, after having been
water lapping at the boatyard launching ramp.
We are born to say our name to the wind.

Our bodies crawled to the entrance of the cave.
But where were our souls at that moment
of ecstasy and bondage? They were hidden
like bats, sleeping, as placid as placentas.

Lêdo Ivo ( 1924-2012 ) Incomplete silence

tr. Alexis Levitin

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