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My Dear Quintana

The soul is what keeps asking us whether the soul really exists. This is one of the many witty, wise, and many times ironic quotes of Brazilian poet, jornalist and translator Mario Quintana. I met him when I was in College. He was already very sick, but was very kind to have the visit of a group of young adults  passionate about his work. I thought I´d translate some other ones to share:

- The secret is not to run after the butterflies...It is to look after your garden, so they´ll come to you;

- Lavoisier´s reflection after he found out they had stolen his wallet: nothing is lost, everything changes ownership;

- It really does not matter to know if we believe in God: the important is to know whether God believes in us;

-If someone asks you what you meant with a poem, ask him what God meant with this world;

-Time is eternity´s insomnia;

-The alarm clock is a traffic accident in our sleep;

- The art of being good : Be good./But to your heart/Discretion and caution provide./The one who covers himself with honey,/will end up being licked by bears.

- The worst about our problems is that no one else has anything to do with them;

- What really concerns me when I look at the apes is not that we came from them: it is that we might be turning into them again;

- To dream is to wake up inside ourselves;

-A good poem is the one that reads us;

-The most ferocius of animals is the clock on the wall. It has devoured three generations of my family already.






8 Comment count
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Viva Quintana! Great witticisms.

I hadn't heard any of them before. I thank you.

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You´re welcome.

You´re welcome.

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beautiful lines...

I've never heard of Quintana but I'll look him up next time I'm at the bookstore. My favorite is not to run after the butterflies but cultivate your garden. I get this image of a person with a big butterfly net running after the butterflies, but their own garden is a total mess!

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Yes, that´s the image that

Yes, that´s the image that occurs to me, too. Like many times when we go after unreachable things.

Quintana is not famous internationally, but his poems are loved throughout Brazil. Language is probably the obstacle. Besides writing in Portuguese (not one-tenth as popular as Spanish), his poetry is not easy to translate: he plays a lot with words.

Thanks for commenting, Jennifer!

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Your new blog post

Luciana, another post that leads me on into new territory. Thank you for introducing me to this new poet. I'll never look at a clock again in the same, nor will I ever forget this: -If someone asks you what you meant with a poem, ask him what God meant with this world. I'll come back to this post many times.
Kathryn Byer (Luciana, take a look at my latest post on kathrynstriplingbyer.blogspot.com--it's in the voice of a mountain woman; I wonder what you would think of it. I always worry that we limit ourselves to our place, and yet---that's where we are!)

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Kathryn, sometimes I wish

Kathryn, sometimes I wish we, people in the world, could all speak the same language, so we could share so many more experiences. But then I realize that we do speak the same language, the language without words of nature, with its dance of life and death, as you beautifully described in that poem. Thanks so much for your comment and your poetry. I left a comment in your blog.


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What a Wonder!...Thank you, Quintana!

Thank you, Luciana!

I truly love them all, but my favorite: "The soul is what keeps asking us whether the soul really exists."


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Thanks, Catherine

I´m glad you liked it! I appreciate your comment so much because, as a translator, it really pleases me when I´m able build a bridge between two cultures. Also, I remember you were the first person to leave a comment on my blog posts.
Take care,