Posts Tagged ‘advent’

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By João da Penha






Singing, everyone sings, but singers only about ten or twelve.


The boutade, they say, is by Frank Sinatra, whose remarkable vocal skills – it seems to me – have not been contested to this day.

To paraphrase the song of the great American singer, it can be said that there are not so many poets like this in the world – here and elsewhere, yesterday and today. I suspect that there will never be many poets, or at least many great poets. At least, I am convinced, not as many as the growing number of edited collections suggest, by marketing strategy arts, just under hyperbolic titles.

Many poetic exercise exercises it, or imagine exercising it. But to make great poetry is grace granted to a minority; to a caste of elect, therefore.

Schiller, by the way, has already warned that it is not enough to create good verses so that its author considers himself a poet. Now, to do verses, almost everyone, at some point in life, has already done. To make POETRY, however, is the road traveled by the minority referred to above. Only she, this chosen caste, has the map of the trail. Whoever holds it, who knows how to read it, interprets its coordinates, leads the others, that is, all of us, who have formed this majority, as creators, of the poetic territory, only by traveling, if sensitive to the Muses, as travelers. For the senseless, the tour of this territory will be nothing more than mere tourism.

Eric Ponty has the map of the trail. He is an authentic poet. Maturity is everything, the supreme bard in the “King Lear” told us. Poet, owner of his craft, poet who reached the full domain of poetic making.

His poetic virtuosity, Ponty has already shown and demonstrated in the magnificent “Retirement Boy Goes to the Circus in Brodowski” (Musa Publishing House, São Paulo, 2003.) In this book with its translation, our poet only makes it reaffirmed. For example when translating this stanza of Manolis’ poem Apollo, which reminds us of Paul Valéry’s Socratic prose in Eupalinos Lame et la Danse Dialogue De L arbre:




And I grew under Apollo’s sun


minutes of expressiveness

alone in darkness and

before I opened my eyes

I was accompanied

by the law of failure

born blind and

accused of heresy

a revolution in its making

even before I could utter

a groan or a begging cry


I gathered all my strength

to pick a date with death

hours before I appeared

in my mother’s arms

newborn festivity

error permitted

two legs just to walk

a heart as if

to feel emotion and

other human traces

of grandeur






E eu cresci sob o sol de Apolo


Minutos de expressividade

Sozinho nas trevas e

Antes de abrir os meus olhos

Eu estava acompanhado

Pela lei da bobagem


Nasceu cega e

Acusada de heresia

Uma conflagração na sua fazendo

Mesmo antes que eu pudesse articular

Um suspiro ou um grito a mendigar


Eu ajuntei toda minha força

A seleção de uma data com a morte

Horas antes eu semelhava

Nos meus braços da minha mãe

Festa de um recém-nascido

Erro admitido

As duas pernas apenas a pé

Um coração como se

Sentisse à emoção e

Outros traços humanos

Da grandeza


This defense can be translated as the recognition that poets inhabit a province where logic does not bow down to the principles that govern the empirical world (nothing is more real than nothing, pre-Socratic Democritus preached). Poets know that. That’s why your particular logic. Particular, but not arbitrary. Particular because only they have the “kingdom key”.

Croce and Vossler, the memory comes to me now, they polemicized around the phrase: “The round table is square”. For the Italian thinker, the phrase would sum up to a total absence of meaning, illogical, while the German critic saw it as true, aesthetically and grammatically valid, caring little that logically impossible. Vossler, like so many others, before and after him, realized that the poet is the one who creates realities. Poets are creators of worlds. Therefore, in the poems translated by Eric Ponty, a musician, as well as a poet, he follows the Wagnerian advice that the poet does nothing but stimulate the understanding, leading the reader to make new combinations on the subject already known by means of sensory perception.

If, as Ponty tells us in one of the translated poems, “In My Mother’s Arms /newborn festivity / error permitted / two legs just to walk” it is equally true that we should listen to what poets have to say (few decipher the world better than poets, neighbors to philosophers). Eric Ponty, at the height of his creative force, has much to tell us through these translations as he did with Manolis-a Canadian Greek poet who’s credit is The Second Advent of Zeus a masterful piece.


“…for his sustained reflection, for a lyrical voice, and an invitation to see life not as a barren subject, but as a complex dynamic that has its own extraordinary design and imago of truth” as Ilya Tourtidis tells us, it is urgent that we listen to Manolis’ voice through the translation of the poet-translator Ponty, one of the most talented of his time.




João da Penha, a journalist and retired professor, collaborated in cultural publications such as Encounters with Brazilian Civilization, Cult and Tempo Brasileiro. Author, among other books, of What Is Existentialism (Brasiliense, 2011, 17. ed.) And Philosophical Periods (Ática 2000, 4. ed.), Translated for magazines and newspapers poems by Russians Sierguêi Iessiênin and Alieksandr Blok, and short stories By José María Argüedas, Júlio Cortázar and Gabriel García Márquez, published in The first short stories of ten masters of Latin American narrative (Paz e Terra, 1978). How to read Wittgenstein. São Paulo: Paulus, 2013.



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Περπάτησα προς το φλεγόμενο δάσος

και βρήκα μέσα στις στάχτες ένα

ποίημά μου, έναν ύμνο και μιαν ωδή


γραμμένη στου εξοστρακισμού

χοχλάδι κρυμένο σε δροσερό σταμνί.

Είχαν άραγε αποστηθίσει κάποια


ή μήπως τα έκρυψαν βαθειά μες

στις καρδιές τους ή τα `χαν άραγε

σκορπίσει στους πέντε ανέμους


φτηνά χαρτονομίσματα να γίνουν

παζαριών εκεί που οι εμπόροι

τ’ ανταλάσουν  με τ’ άγιο τούτο χώμα


δίχως κανένα σεβασμό

στο καλαίσθητο νόημα

του πανάρχαιου λόγου;





I walked toward the conflagrated

forest where among the ashes

I discovered one of my poems


a hymn and an ode written

on the exostracizing pebble

placed in the water pitcher.
Had they learned my poems

off by heart or had they scattered them

to the five corners of the Earth


to become cheap bills for bazzars

where the merchants exchange them

with the sacred soil of my family


with no respect for the calligraphic

meaning of the ancient word?


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Και προσοχή δεν έδωσα

στις φλεγόμενες κόρες των ματιών του

που με συμβούλεψαν την προσοχή μου να εντείνω

παρά έριξα πίσω το κεφάλι


και κοίταξα τον ουρανό

μέσα απ’ τον τρούλο της ομπρέλλας

και ρώτησα τον ήλιο μου


που πούλησαν στα όμορφα παρτέρια

και σ’ ιδιωτικές ακρογιαλιές

των ξένων με τ’ άχυρα μαλλιά


τί απόγινε τ’ αρχέτυπο φιλί κι η αθωότη

που στης υπεραγοράς τα ράφια

τα πουλούσαν, και μια φωνή ακούστηκε


στο υπόβαθρο πως έπρεπε

τα αγαθά τους ν’ αγοράσω


κι είπε αυτό το πρώτο μέλημά μου






And I didn’t pay attention

to his fiery irises that warned me

but I threw my head back


and through the umbrellas

little holes I gazed the sky

and I asked the sun


which was sold to beautiful

gardens and secluded villas

of the foreigners with the straw hair


what happened to the virginal kiss

and to the innocence sold

in the supermarket’s shelves


when a voice was heard

in the background saying

I had to buy their products


and this, it said, was my first concern



Τhe moment came when Hera ordered

to throw myself into
the darkness of the uterus

cell by cell
molecule by molecule
the concept of division
to define

I wasn’t that bad in my absence


the expressionist
the hedonist
the self- absorbed

the clown that I was
meant to become

after the cosmic
took charge
of my life


Κι ήταν η στιγμή που η Ήρα διέταξε

μέσα στης μήτρας
το σκοτάδι να ριχτώ

κύτταρο με το κύτταρο
μόριο με το μόριο
την έννοια διαίρεσης
να καθορίσω

τελικά δεν ήμουν κι άσχημος στην απουσία μου



ο γελωτοποιός
που μου μέλλονταν να γίνω

απ’ τη στιγμή
που ο συμβιβασμός
θα διεκδικούσε
τη ζωή μου

~ΔΕΥΤΕΡΗ ΠΑΡΟΥΣΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΑ, συλλογή εν εξελίξει.
~SECOND ADVENT OF ZEUS, collection in progress.