Carlos Drummond de Andrade – José

And now, José?

the party’s over,

the light is out,cdrummondandrade

the people have gone,

the night has chilled,

and now, José?

and now, you?

you who are nameless,

who scoffs at others

you who versifies,

who loves, protests?

and now, José?


You have no woman,

you have no discourse,

you have no affection,

you can’t drink,

you can’t smoke,

you can’t even spit,

the night has chilled,

the day hasn’t come,

the tram hasn’t come

the smile hasn’t come

utopia hasn’t come

all has ended

all has fled

all has decayed,

and now, José?


And now José?

your sweet word,

your moment of passion,

feasting and fasting,

your library,

your golden garden,

your glass suit,

your incoherence,

your hate – and now?


With a key in hand that

wants to open the door,

the door doesn’t exist;

who wants to die in the sea,

but the sea has dried up;

who wants to go to Minas,

Minas doesn’t exist anymore.

José, and now?


If you should scream,

if you should groan,

if you should play

the Viennese waltz

if you should sleep,

if you should tire,

if you should die…

but you don’t die,

you are tough, José!


Alone in the dark,

the recluse,

without Hesiod’s Theogony,

without a bare wall

to lean upon,

without a black horse

to escape upon,

march, José!

José, where to?


(tr J Carlos Deegan)


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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2 Responses to Carlos Drummond de Andrade – José

  1. ritaroberts says:

    Nice one Carlos. Thanks for sharing

    • carlos says:

      I’m having a problem using two column format, else I would have included the original Portuguese:-) Thanks for the encouragement, it was a rather quick translation but my favorite cultural venue in Porto, “Gato Vadio,” is having a night devoted to Drummond. Hope you are well!

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