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Poem from Portugal

11 September 2018
Author :  


Rui Cóias was born in Lisbon. He is graduated in Law from the University of Coimbra, has a postgraduate degree in Legal Sciences, a Jurist, and also studies Philosophy.

He is the author of the books The Function of the Geographer and The Order of the World. In 2016 was publisghed in Portugal his last collection of poems: Europa, that includes, among others, a series of texts based on the Great War 14-18, more specifically in the Battle of the Somme of 1916, written in the occasion of a fellowship awarded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

This book was recently published in Mexico and Holland with translations to spanish and dutch.

Rui Cóias is also published in Belgium (La Nature de la Vie) and in France (L`ordre du monde).

He has also written some essays. In his work, the distinctions between time and space, between the personal and the impersonal, are imprecise. In the background it is all a vast territory through which travel and travel in space and time establish connections with the landscape and memory, in a project of definition and naming of the intelligible world. A happiness, however uncertain, fleeting, is always within reach, or within our retreat, and we also, at all times, pursue the dark beauty of the world.

He has also published in several anthologies and publications in Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, Romania, Macedonia and Brazil. He has also presented his work in Switzerland, France, the United States, India and Turkey and represented Portugal in several important festivals and literary meetings, like for exempla at Hyderabad Lit Fest and Apeejay Kokata, in India.

He is also part of the Portuguese authors that integrate the web platforms: Poetry International Web (Rotterdam), Poems from the Portuguese (Portugal) and Lyricline (Germany).

He has a travel and literature blog, and lives in Lisbon.



Nothing exists that hasn’t had a beginning.

Even in the distance, a clear lit speck,

in territories stripped from all limits, on

sands that flow from unknown seas,

we only contemplate the extent of what we perceived.

If fields in Livonia lead to fields in Masuria,

if tiles are smoothed in tepid bath waters,

and further on graveyard follows graveyard, and

in their midst, inert in the lack of wind, the birch wood stands,

if the sun is the flame of the olive oil crumbling the bread

or the chipped lightening on the walls of Helsingør,

if the death plot is everywhere the same,

be it in the Santa Maria flute or in the Tallinn concertina

it is because we modulate in one place what has seeped from another.

Even unwillingly, or perhaps it’s the shadows on the move,

we weave no more than a row of chances and discretions

along a current which takes each one of us, separately,

to the most sensitive final passage.

Even if laboriously we detach the places,

detailing their diversions and extremes

– the similarity between what they are and what we thought they were,

even throughout regions intersected by extensive trains,

where night will fall in scales of lavender,

we’ll follow the same story – we sink our feet in the same mud.

In that which repeatedly sucks us in,

as we yearn for whatever comes to pass further in the next cove

smoothing with our hands the oak trees on whose bark we inscribe,

like others before us, our sinuous names, our loves,

we constantly return to the point where all is repeated and begun,

of which we grasp a mere minute – an instant,

the blade mediating between this year and the next.


©Translation: Ana Hudson

Literary Editor

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