(translation) poem, daniel faria (2)

By popular demand, I shall put here another translation I had given up on and decided to complete upon seeing the warm reaction in my last translation of Daniel Faria. As I’m noticing that more-and-more folks are becoming interested not only in Portuguese poetry and the translated works themselves, but my method of translation and how the translation itself elapses and is thought-out, I decided to include some of my notes later on the post, so that those interested might better understand the choices I make and how I work around some linguistic issues. I remind everyone that I am still an amateur and work my hardest to provide the best that I can, but I’m still inexperienced in the arts of literary translation. This eight-part composition was one of my biggest challenges, but some parts of it are so rich, I couldn’t help but endure the harder ones.


I’ll include here the download for the PDF of all the contents of this post: translation, original and notes, for those who might have trouble reading the images or getting them to load properly, or those who’d like to keep the document for themselves.

This is all incredibly arduous to make and hopefully someday I’ll achieve my dream of getting paid for it, haha, though for now I’m more-than-glad to provide it for free and be allowed to do so, both for the experience and to show you all the wonders of Portuguese poetry, which is incredible in nearly all of its presence, though largely underappreciated.
Thank you for letting it live within you,

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

48 thoughts on “(translation) poem, daniel faria (2)

    1. Indeed it is; one does ones best. The richness of sound present in Portuguese and absent in English, and the plasticity of English absent in Portuguese, will never allow for a full interchange.
      Though certain things are always better left to their exclusivity.
      Thanks for being such a faithful reader, Julia, it’s very important to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Stunning! Your English is ‘intensely readable” a compliment once paid to Richard Howard if I’m not mistaken or perhaps it was Stephen Mitchell. Regardless, thanks for sharing these and for the file. That’s wonderfully generous. Hope you fulfill your dreams. Cheers. Sal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Salvatore! And it’s likely that I shall. Though Stephen Mitchell’s English is much more intensely readable than Richard Howard’s, I find. It’s likely that the quote refers to him.
      And I’m jubilant that you’ve enjoyed my works so much. I’m sure my dreams will be fulfilled. How could it be any different? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You make a good point about Stephen Mitchell. I can’t disagree; however, when I get the urge to look at Baudelaire again, I invariably reach for Richard Howard’s “Les Fleurs du Mal.” Perhaps that’s habit. Love your positive energy! I’m cheerful by nature though I fail in ambition. Cheers. Sal.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes, I have finally found something to make up for the wishy-washy compulsory “Romantic” stuff I have got to read 😀 This in comparison is deep, and it conveys so many different feelings at the same time. This man was really good at writing. So he was influenced by Catholic philosophy and aesthetics or not? What can you tell us about that?

    Great job this time! Thank you for sharing. I’d support if I could. If you want to read anything translated from Japanese to English someday, just tell me to send you something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raquel! I’m not one for Eastern literature (yet), but I’m incredibly fond of Japanese visual art, which I believe to be unparalleled in the world both in its history and contemporary presence.
      In regards to Daniel, he studied Theology and had intentions of becoming a monk in a Portuguese monastery and, later, a presbyter.
      He joined the seminar at the age of twelve, I believe, and the presence of God and the Catholic Mythologies is as vivid and fervidly lived in his poetry as it was during his life. I purposefully selected areligious poems, though all of his poetics are permeated with a pellicle of spirituality, which is not something I’d never try to shut off.
      He is also theologically interesting in regards to how he approaches godness in his verse, which is mostly by a position of loss or longing rather than one of discovering. Daniel feels, continuously and rather lugubriously, that he has lost godness and must rediscover it entirely within himself, which displays an ontic humility that is hard to reprehend or repudiate.
      That’s all I know in regards to his relationship with Catholicism, though it is clearly indelible and impactful.


  3. Thanks for these. I also enjoyed your notes. In the comments in Part 3 you say that in English the adjective precedes the noun – that doesn’t have to be the case, although rarely used – and especially adjectival phrases. I would have no trouble with “The tree, apple, grew in the corner of the garden”. Nor would I have the slightest trouble with “Mother biblical”. Anyway, I’m no linguist. These are excellent to read João-Maria.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apple is not an adjective, though, haha. Actually, “Apple tree” is a singular noun and should visually appear as either “appletree” or “Apple-tree”. English is the only Germanic language that separates composite nouns. Now, it’s true that adjectives can appear after nouns if you use appositives, like you did, which is an adjectival phrase, but adding appositives in a translation is a bit violent. Or I think it is.
      So, of course, they can appear after in a plethora of instances, but it seems very unnatural to do.
      Thank you, Bruce! I truly hope you liked the poem.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not yet sure if I’ve yet got on top of the poem. (Sometimes a poem is like cheese – it takes time (sorry that’s a quotation from a New Zealand cheese advert)). So I shall read and reflect further…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The expertise and renown of Faria you mentioned really comes alive here.

    His intention in the first two lines is met instantly.

    It’s hard to express the closeness he establishes and keeps throughout the poem. I’ve seen a lot of poetry attempt this, but nothing like this.

    Faria is talking to you.

    The imagery, metaphor and symbolism of the Magnolia is used masterfully. I don’t know how the original reads of course, but way Faria makes things concrete, fluid, then dreamlike and back, is mind boggling.

    I wanted to use your translation of

    “How it lights up the pulse of the birds – their song

    coming and going inside your ears”

    to describe his alchemy.

    I can only imagine, given the complexity and length of the work, how this might be fawned over in academic circles.

    I will read it again soon. A lot to digest.

    (Is there really not much translation of his work? I would love to have a book of his poetry.)

    Thanks for another wonderful post Joao.

    (I have also been meaning to ask… Do you go by Joao.. or is it Joao-maria?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, there is no translation of his work, though I can’t say for sure whether or not one is currently being produced.
      He is only now starting to gain traction along the younger academia, though his neglect also stems from him being ecclesiastic and Academic circles usually shying away from matters to do with the religious current.
      It’s a complicated matter, I find, but he hasn’t been translated at all. I might be among the first three or four translators to even translate his poems at an individual level, let alone his entire books.

      And my name is João-Maria, though you’re welcome to just call me João, JM or even John. It’s fine by me!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’d be great if we had a resurgence in the interest of Contemporary Portuguese Poetry. Right now our only representation if Pessoa, and though it’s a great one, it’s a bit limited.


  5. Joao-Maria, I enjoyed reading this beautiful poem. Thank you for the translation.

    I enjoyed the poem even more because of a memorable magnolia tree from my childhood. It was a massive old tree growing in the graveyard behind the historic church next door. For the two years we lived there, I climbed up into its branches, often carrying my lunch, and looked out over the fields of cotton, tobacco, and peanuts that surrounded our little town. The lovely white blooms had an intoxicating fragrance.

    Thank you for the memories. All the best! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The magnolia scent is potent and indistinguishable. I, sadly, never grew up near a magnolia, but my village had many mulberries and orange trees, and these latter ones never failed to perfume the entire place.

      Thank you so much for reading, Cheryl. I hope your hiatus was fruitful!


  6. I am reading this quite late, but I am impressed by your approach. I write mostly my own poetry in a few languages, including English which isn’t my native tongue. And on occasion, I translate from Arabic. Sometimes for poetry festivals. It’s an art, translating. One that is so gratifying when you get it just right 🙂
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Likewise, I too write beyond my nativity. Translation is indubitably difficult, but I’ve found nothing harder than creativity beyond ones original language. It is arduous to learn how to feel in a language, only to translate that onto another, and in such Herculean Endeavour, I do believe, in a sense, the effort we are privy to is an art of translation and creation simultaneously, with the same added difficulties and challenges. It is, however, and just as you said, gratifying when you get right.
      Do you have any person blog? The website I’m directed through by your profile seems to not be the right one.


  7. I used to have a personal blog, but not anymore. Now it’s solely a repository for drafts. On my profile there is a link to rendedheartpoetry, a blog owned by my friend, where I write poems. And the other one is Flashes, a Literary Magazine of which I am the co-owner and one of the editors.

    And yes, I couldn’t agree more with what you say here. Translation and creation simultaneously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was able to access the latter through Google, though sadly, I’m afraid that the link in your profile does not function as intended, since there isn’t a point between “www” and “flashes”. Regardless of such, thank you for informing me about rendedheartpoetry, which I have followed and intend to accompany.
      The best to you, Darren, and may your literary ventures be as fruitful as a spring.


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