Carlos Pena’s Recife


Carlos Pena Filho is considered to be one of the most important poets from Pernambuco. He was a political poet, interested in every aspect of life of his city and state. During his life, cut short in a car accident at 31 years of age, he shared the friendship and admiration of many known writers and poets. He personally knew Manuel Bandeira, Joaquim Cardoso, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Mauro Mota, Gilberto Freyre and Jorge Amado, among others.

You can find his poems here (though I’ve translated two about Recife below), and a statue of him at the Praça da Independência, also in Recife.

“Recife, cruel city,
bloody eagle, lion.
Ungrateful to those of the earth,
good to those that are not.
Friend of those that mistreat it
enemy of those that do not,
this is your portrait made
with paint from your summer
and faint memories
of the time in which you were
bride of the revolution.”

(Practicle Guide to the City of Recife – The End, 1999:142-143)

“At the point where the sea is extinguished
And the sands take you
They dug up your foundations
In the deaf shadow of the earth
And they took your walls
From the cold sleep of the stones.
Then they tied their flanks:
Thirty blue flags planted on the coast.
Today, serene floats, half stolen from the sea,
Half stolen from imagination,
For it is the dream of men
That a city invents itself.”

(Practicle Guide to the City of Recife – The Beginning, 1999:129)

By the way, here these two are in their original (PT, top of the page)


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