Monday, August 20, 2012

Adélia Prado

Adélia Prado is one of Brazil's foremost poets, even though her work only began to be published when she was in her early 40s. She is a devoted Catholic who often combines earthy images of this world with transcendent images of faith. She has published six collections of poetry.

In 1985 American writer Ellen Watson, arrived at Prado's door with a handful of English translations she had made of Prado's poems. Eventually that manuscript became The Alphabet in the Park (1990). It still remains the best-known source for Adélia Prado's poetry in English. The two women have remained friends throughout the years; Watson is scheduled to release a second volume of Prado's poetry in 2013. The following translation, however, is from Marcia Kirinus.


The world is a garden. A light bathes the world.
The cleanness of the air, the greens after rain,
the open country dresses in grass like the sheep in its wool.
A pain without bitterness: a live butterfly on the spit.
Wake up the tender memories:
robust with youth,
insidious joy with no reason.
I don't insist on the old addictions to protect me from sudden joy.
And the woman ugly? And the man crass?
Meaningless. They are all in a fog like me.
The empty can, the manure, the leper on his horse.
They are all resplendent. On the cloud a king, a kingdom,
a jester with his fandangles, a prince. I pass them by,
they are solid. What I don't see exists more than the flesh.
God gave me this unforgettable afternoon, I rubbed my eyes and saw:
like the sky, the real world is pastoral.

To learn more about Adélia Prado, visit Richard Osler's Recovering Words blog.

This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Adélia Prado: second post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: