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Modern Art Week special: Manuel Bandeira Posted by on Feb 17, 2022 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, History, Learning, Literature, Music, Vocabulary

Fala, galera! If you look back a hundred years, do you know what was going on in your country back then? Well, cem anos atrás (a hundred years ago), the Semana de Arte Moderna (Modern Art Week) was held in São Paulo, a milestone in arts and culture in Brazil. The event featured exposições de arte (art exhibitions), palestras (lectures), book and poetry readings, concerts and dance performances. Many notorious artists, pintores (painters) and escritores (writers) like Di Cavalcanti,  Anita Malfatti, Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade and Heitor Villa-Lobos had the unique opportunity to present their work to Brazilian society. But enough about that por enquanto (for the time being). You can find out more about Semana de Arte Moderna in future posts.

Let’s now shift our attention to Manuel Bandeira, whose poetry was received with both enthusiasm and rage by the clapping and booing público (audience) during a reading of “Os Sapos” in Semana de Arte Moderna. The modernist author had a funny, provocative and iconoclastic style, which we will get to know today with his best-known poem, Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada. Below you can find the original stanzas in Portuguese, followed by minha tradução (my translation) in italics.

But first, how about brushing up on your listening skills? Ouça (listen to) the poem here, narrated by the author himself!

Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada | I am leaving for Pasárgada

Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada
Lá sou amigo do rei
Lá tenho a mulher que eu quero
Na cama que escolherei

I’m leaving for Pasargada
There, I am a friends witi the king
There, I have the woman I want
In the bed that I choose

Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada
Aqui eu não sou feliz
Lá a existência é uma aventura
De tal modo inconsequente
Que Joana a Louca de Espanha
Rainha e falsa demente
Vem a ser contraparente
Da nora que nunca tive

I’m leaving for Pasargada

Leia poesia para aprender português (Photo by cottonbro from Pexels)

Here, I am not happy
There, existence is an adventure
in such an inconsequential way
May Joana the Madwoman of Spain
Queen and falsely demented
Come to be a distant relative
From the daughter-in-law I never had

E como farei ginástica
Andarei de bicicleta
Montarei em burro brabo
Subirei no pau-de-sebo
Tomarei banhos de mar!
E quando estiver cansado
Deito na beira do rio
Mando chamar a mãe-d’água
Pra me contar as histórias
Que no tempo de eu menino
Rosa vinha me contar
Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada

And how I will exercise
I will ride a bike
I will ride a wild donkey
I will climb the greasy pole
I will bathe in the sea!
And when I am tired
I will lie down by the river
I send for the mother of the waters
To tell me the stories
That when I was a child
Rosa would tell me
I’m leaving for Pasargada

Em Pasárgada tem tudo
É outra civilização
Tem um processo seguro
De impedir a concepção
Tem telefone automático
Tem alcaloide à vontade
Tem prostitutas bonitas
Para a gente namorar

In Pasargada there is everything
It’s another civilization
It has a safe process
to prevent conception
It has automatic telephones
It has alkaloids at will
It has beautiful prostitutes
for us to date

E quando eu estiver mais triste
Mas triste de não ter jeito
Quando de noite me der
Vontade de me matar
— Lá sou amigo do rei —
Terei a mulher que eu quero
Na cama que escolherei
Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada.

And when I’m at my saddest
Saddest beyond reason
When at night I feel
like killing myself
— There I am friends with the king —
I will have the woman I want
In the bed that I choose
I’m leaving for Pasargada. (1930)

Feeling inspired? We have more poems for you! Check them out here:

Celebrate Library Card Month with Poetry

Poetry in Portuguese | “Círculo Vicioso” by Machado de Assis

Brazilian Profile: Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Canção do exílio

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