[Translated poetry] A Brazilian sonnet by Olavo Bilac

My blank verse translation of the famous poem by Olavo Bilac (1865 – 1918). The Portuguese original is below.

“Why, (ye will say) to hear the stars! ‘Tis sure 
Thou hast lost thy mind!” Yet this I will say, 
That to hear them, I oftentimes awake, 
Opening the windows, pale with wonderment...   

And all night through we talk, and all the while 
The Milky Way, like to an open canopy, 
Glitters. And come the sun, yearning, in tears, 
I seek them still in the deserted sky.   

Now ye will say: “Poor maddened friend! 
What dost thou talk with them? What sense 
Is there in what they say to thee?”   

And I will say: “Love, so ye understand! 
For only those who love do have the ear 
Able to hear and understand the stars.” 

*

If you enjoyed discovering this Brazilian sonnet about love and stars, you will also like this one about love unforgettable.

*

“Ora (direis) ouvir estrelas! Certo 
Perdeste o senso!” E eu vos direi, no entanto, 
Que, para ouvi-las, muita vez desperto 
E abro as janelas, pálido de espanto… 

E conversamos toda a noite, enquanto 
A via-láctea, como um pálio aberto, 
Cintila. E, ao vir do sol, saudoso e em pranto, 
Inda as procuro pelo céu deserto. 

Direis agora: “Tresloucado amigo! 
Que conversas com elas? Que sentido 
Tem o que dizem, quando estão contigo?” 

E eu vos direi: “Amai para entendê-las! 
Pois só quem ama pode ter ouvido 
Capaz de ouvir e de entender estrelas”.

Image: wallpaperflare.com

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