Two Poems

translated by Alexis Levitin
The bloom of an exotic flower
Photo: Hans Benn/Pixabay

Delirica II

You speak (while walking) psalms
of flame,
a luminous design of
chamber music.
The forbidden fruit in your train
tempts warriors and far-flung mariners.
You speak the music of absence
touching my tendons in the mists.

My seas reflect your signs,
that sundown supplication
in your mane of hair.

You speak salt to being,
the transitory and the endless ether.
You speak to love, that radiant, luminous death.


Delirica X

A madman sniffing
at the moon
captures instances of you.

(Captured in his cymbal-clashing soul.)

A madman who can sing.

And over what comes spilling forth
in mantra and nectar,
there is a flame:

hidden in your folded

Neon words linger
as everything flows from resplendent

And everywhere, forever,
fire, water, time, and breath


Translations from the Portuguese

Salgado Maranhão has won numerous Brazilian poetry prizes, including the Prêmio Jabuti twice. In addition to fourteen books of poetry, he has written song lyrics and made recordings with leading Brazilian musicians. His two books in the US are Blood of the Sun (2012) and Tiger Fur (2015).

Photo ©Nick Levitin

Alexis Levitin’s forty books of translation include Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm and Eugenio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words. He has received two NEA translation grants.