Thursday, 13 July 2017

POET OF THE MONTH #41: Eduardo White

c 2004


The burden of life!
I loved bearing it, just like you,
hearing it grow inside me,
in living flesh.

I didn't only want
to open your wound,
I didn't only want
the patient vocation of a labourer:
I wanted the earth's vocation too,
which also is yours.

Treat love like a profession,
to be practised with great care.

Repeat to perfection
as often as necessary,
until it lasts
and everything inside
is in the right place.

Let the sun rise into the night.
Never let love become a leftover, a memory.


Translated by STEFAN TOBLER

The Poet:  Eduardo Costley White was born in the Mozambique port city of Quelimane on 21 November 1963.

After training for three years at the Industrial Institute, he founded the poetry magazine Charrua in 1984 before going on to be named President of the Mozambican Writers Association.

His first collection of poetry Amar Sobre o Índico [To Love the Indian] was published in 1984.  He published ten other collections, the last being Até Amanhã, Coração [See You Tomorrow, Heart] which appeared in 2005. The poem O peso da vida [The Burden of Life] is from his third collection País de Mim [Country of Me, 1990].  In 2001 he was named Literary Figure of the Year by the Mozambican Press Association.

Preoccupied with his mixed Portuguese and English heritage, White's poetry was both a reflection of his personal history and an exploration of Mozambique's war-torn past characterized by the unceasing quest for human dignity.  Whether speaking of his beloved, of the land or of his relationship to his own work, his poems are notable for their tone of tenderness, musicality and occasional eroticism.  Now considered one of his country's finest poets, White died in Mozambique on 24 August 2014.

Click HERE to read more poems posted on the website of the Poetry Translation Centre.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #34: Zaid Shlah
POET OF THE MONTH #17: Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf
POET OF THE MONTH #8: Mohammed Bennis

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