[sem título] ~ José Paulo Paes

José Paulo Paes has appeared in Tuda May 2005, and now he’s back by other facets – the brevity of his poetry and its childhood theme. Translator of poetry and a poet himself, José Paulo Paes was born in 1926 and died in 1998. In addition to poet and translator, he also was a critic and an essayist, and his work has been of immense contribution to Brazilian literature.

Mark Kostabi

Bem-te-vi (Great kiskadee) is a bird named after his onomatopoeic call, an exuberant BEE-tee-WEE, which means “I see you well!” This poem in Portuguese plays with this meaning, saying that the “mope-eyed” great kiskadee used to sing “bem-te-via”, which in Portuguese means “I saw you well”!

It’s hard to play such joke in English using the same motif as the original, but similar tricks could apply… I’ve tried two different solutions: one plays with the Pied Lapwing bird and the wing verb; second plays with the diver bird Cormorant and the word dove, which can be the bird and/or the simple past of the verb dive.

How it used to say
that flightless Pied Lapwing:
I winged… I winged…

How it used to say
that diver Cormorant:
I dove… I dove…

Como dizia
aquele bem-te-vi que ficou míope:
“bem te via… bem te via…”

[in É Isso Ali, 1984]

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