Thursday, September 06, 2007

For Sodade's Sake

Sodade is the Kriolu word for the Portuguese term 'saudade.' It has no direct English equivalent and is a mix of homesickness and nostalgia.


Her voice is a breeze,
her song washes
like eternal waves,
although sea water
and the salt of sorrow
may be married.
Medleyed with a moving sun,
her tone tracks the heart's arc.
Since all that rises fears
what falling might follow,
she is careful,
sings of descent first,
is cautious with what hope
she allows to be
heard in the harmony.
And I wonder
what price of translation
she pays, as she sings
in a voice that is naked
and slowly utters
every word
by barefoot

Her voice is more searchlight
than song, splashes the dunes
with waves of something
wilder than water.
Her lyrics are an island's sighs
medleyed with moonlight,
a sound like whales exhaling.
Since tears also shine,
what saline struggle
she's tasted illuminates her,
perhaps reflecting
what traces of grace
she may have seen
in the foam swirling
across what beach she walks.
She knows the sea and sorrow
sing in the same key,
but still chooses to lift me
with what the tide
utters in the interim,
word by rising word.

(For Cesaria Evora)

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