Monday, August 23, 2021

Adélia Prado*

Adélia Prado is a leading Brazilian poet whose career was launched amid praise from modernist Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, who suggested that St. Francis is dictating verses to a housewife in Minas Gerais; he said, “Adélia is lyrical, biblical, existential; she makes poetry as naturally as nature makes weather.” She is the first member of her family to attend university, completing degrees in Philosophy and Religious Education from the University of Divinópolis.

Idra Novey has said, “There is never a day that can’t be improved with a few lines by Adélia Prado.” In 2014 Prado was honoured with The Griffin Lifetime Achievement Award.

The following poem was translated from Portuguese by Ellen Doré Watson and appears in her book, The Mystical Rose: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014).


Poetry will save me.
I feel uneasy saying this, since only Jesus
is Saviour, as a man inscribed
(of his own free will)
on the back of the souvenir crucifix he brought home
from a pilgrimage to Congonhas.
Nevertheless, I repeat: Poetry will save me.
It's through poetry that I understand the passion
He had for us, dying on the cross.
Poetry will save me, as the purple of flowers
spilling over the fence
absolves the girl her ugly body.
In poetry the Virgin and the saints approve
my apocryphal way of understanding words
by their reverse, my decoding the town crier's message
by means of his hands and eyes.
Poetry will save me. I won't tell this to the four winds,
because I'm frightened of experts, excommunication,
afraid of shocking the fainthearted. But not of God.
What is poetry, if not His face touched
by the brutality of things?

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

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock.