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Garota de Ipanema Restaurant - Ipanema Beach - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Garota de Ipanema Restaurant – Ipanema Beach – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Photo Credit: The Real Rio de Janeiro Blog


My Poetry Corner August 2016, featuring the poem “Soneto do Amigo” (Sonnet of the Friend) by Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes (1913-1980), is dedicated to a dear friend who is facing a challenging period.

Born in the city of Rio de Janeiro, then the capital of Brazil until 1960, Vinicius de Moraes is the poet of love and passion. At twenty years, he published his first book of poetry. Two years later, his second collection won Brazil’s National Poetry Award. A diplomat during the period 1946 to 1969, he served in Los Angeles, Paris, and Montevideo. He married nine times and had five children.

Love is a memory
that time doesn’t kill,
the beloved song
happy and absurd…

[“A você, com amor” (To you, with love) by Vinicius de Moraes]

In the 1960s, Vinicius de Moraes contributed his talents as a lyricist and musician to the emergence of the bossa nova which incorporated elements of Brazilian samba and African American jazz. These musical collaborations gave birth to numerous classical Brazilian songs – the most famous being “Garota de Ipanema” (Girl from Ipanema) with Tom Jobim.

In “Soneto de Fidelidade” (Sonnet of Fidelity), the poet pledges to love fully, while it lasts:

I want to live each frivolous moment
And in praise I must broadcast my song
And laugh with joy and shed my tears
At your grief or your contentment.

When lovers separate, turning life upside down, the poet laments in his “Soneto de Separação” (Sonnet of Separation):

Suddenly, not more than suddenly
He who became lover became sad
And he who was content became lonely.

In “O Velho e a Flor” (The Old Man and the Flower), a young man roams the world to find out what love is. No one could tell him until he meets an old man with a flower.

Love is kindness
It’s the thorn you don’t see in each flower.
It’s life when
it arrives bleeding exposed
in petals of love.

The featured poem “Soneto do Amigo” (Sonnet of the Friend) speaks about friendship that survives after years of separation, in spite of old hurts and misunderstandings and the imperfections of each other.

At last, after so many past mistakes
So much retaliation, so much danger
There reappears in another the old friend
Never lost, always found again.

Sharing joy and laughter with our friend brightens our days, lightens the burden we bear, and gives meaning to our journey through life. Sharing disappointments, sorrow, and loss with our friend cements the bond of our friendship. In the face of life’s fearsome threats, we stand as one.

To read the complete featured poem and learn more about Vinicius de Moraes and his work, go to my Poetry Corner August 2016.


Note: English translation of excerpts by Rosaliene Bacchus