A Look at the Portuguese World



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News of the blockage

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I take your neutrality,
Your oval face,
Your fair beauty,
To send news from the blocking
To those on the continent anxiously awaiting.

You will tell them from the heart what we suffer
The days that whiten the hair...
You will tell them the commotion and the words
Which we bind - contraband - in your hair.

You will tell them our built hatred,
Supporting the defense around us
- only quilted by the night
Flourishing with hunger and sorrow.

Your neutrality will pass
Over the customs barrier
And your bag will take photos,
A map, two letters, a tear...

You will say how we work in silence,
How we do eat silence, we drink silence
we swim and die wounded
of a silence hard and violent.

Go then and report with a torch
To those you find outside the walls
The world in which we see ourselves, poetry
Massacred and fear flanked.

Go and tell in the daily newspapers
Or writes with acid on walls
What you saw, what you know, what I said
Between two bombings already expected.

But tell them that it remains undisturbed
The secret of the towers that lift us up,
And suspended from them a flower on fire
Shouts its name incandescent and pure.

Tell them that we resist in the city
Disfigured by grenade wounds
And while water and food scarce
Anger increases and hope remains.

Egito Gonçalves is not one of the names that springs to mind when speaking of Portuguese poetry, but it is important for me to approach this author for two reasons, the first one is the power of his words, his capacity to shape the thought, of transforming his verses into hymns to freedom, or the lack of it, to try to prevent the numbness of a society closed upon itself with his poems and nothing better to illustrate this idea than, "News of the blockade." Edited during the fifties, this is one of the series of nine that were published in Porto, between 1957 and 1961, under the direction of this poet, Daniel Filipe, Papiniano Carlos, Luís Veiga Leitão, Ernâni Melo Viana and António Rebordão Navarro and that appear in a Portugal where the dictatorship was felt by the eraseing of the texts by the censors and by the constant pressure exerted on the intellectuals of this time and this author is perhaps one of the faces less recognized of a generation of writers who did not refer to the silence, or as an accomplice of an oppressive political system. He was above all a man dedicated to culture, having excelled beyond poetry, in the area of editing and translation of texts, hence the highlight on this work and here is my second motive, this book addresses a poetry that reflects its time, are poems of resistance, of the combat to the silence imposed by the State and that allude to the dark siege that the political police imposed on the most critical voices of this period and all this is reflected in the poetry of Egito Gonçalves. Have a nice reading.

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