And now, Joseph?

Carlos Drummond de Andrade {free translation by HMdO}


The ending of the gala
the lights by now dimmed
the people have vanished
      cooled in the nightfall.
Now, Joseph?
And what you have to?
you've no family name
you who make gags of one and all
you make poems
and only loves exasperatedly

      but all fled all.

and now, Joseph?

You've no lady
you're without speech
you're without affection

you cannot swallow

you cannot smoking

       so neither spit,
in the chilly of the nighttime

the  sunlight does not come

the tramway does not arrive

the  grin does not appear

the dreamland does not approach

      the end of all

and everything became mildew.

And now, dear Joseph?

Your soft talking
a flash of fever

        feast your fasting

library and records
your vein of gold
your suit of glass
your irrelevance,

your hatred, now?

With the proper key
you wish to unlock the door:
      no more doors were left.
you longing to die by the sea

but the whole sea dried up;

you wanna go to Minas

Minas is not there.

What, then, Joseph?

If groaning
If playing a waltz,

if napping
if exhausting
   though you were dead ...

But you never pass away

you're so hard Joseph!

Alone in the darkness
you stay such a beast

      without Theognis

not with a wall shaven

      to lean upon
without a black stallion

     to flee in a course
do you stride out?
O Joseph!
Joseph, whither goest thou?