διὰ γὰρ τὸ θαυμάζειν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ νῦν καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφεῖν
it is because of wonder that people both before and now have set themselves upon philosophy
(Aristotelis Metaphysica 982b.12-13)

إذا عرف السّبب بطل العجب
wonder disappears if the reason is known
(Não encontrei a fonte; Provérbio?)


um poema

vós ouvistes
da ira de Heraclito
e dos crimes celestes

mas eu digo-vos
dos gentios o sacro pecado
repeti-o, todos os dias, todos
os vasos quebrai




מָה אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי־תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ 
וּבֶן‏־אָדָם כִּי־תִפְקְדֶנּוּ

o que é o Humano que te lembres dele,
o filho do Homem que o atendas?

(Salmos 8:4)


Mira-me Miguel como estou de bonitica
Xaia de burel camijica de estupica

Tenho três obelhas, mais uma cordeira,
Quero-me cajar e não acho quem me queira

Baila, Pedro, baila! — Xenhora, quero pão! —
Baila mais um pouco, que lhogo to darão!

Bamos à la cama, bamos a dormir,
Eu lhevo la manta, e eu lhevo o cantil.


the Judaization of modern Western civilization

Dan Miron. From Continuity to Contiguity, Thoughts on the Theory of Jewish Literature. in Jewish Literatures and Cultures, Context and Intertext. (Norich & Eliav edd.) pp. 33-35. Brown University Press (2008) 
What we should part with—indeed, what we must exorcise from our cognitive system—is the obsessive theoretical craving for all-encompassing unities and continuities. Though we can understand the deep cultural insecurities that give rise to such cravings, and even aesthetically relish the beautifully arranged projections by which such insecurities are kept at bay, we cannot afford to let them replace historical realities. This is not a call for the banishing of ideological considerations from historical and literary thinking. Such banishment is both impossible and unwarranted. All history is informed by ideological considerations. However, ideological projection and wishful thinking are not one and the same. An authentic, scholarly historical narrative can balance such inevitable projections with a genuine interest in the ever so complex and multifarious facets of historical reality. The more we study the realities of the Jewish literary complex the less we feel the need to superimpose upon them a symbolic order (in the Lacanian sense of the term), to organize them hierarchically under an overarching principle. We should remind ourselves that the hierarchically tiered systems we are often offered by cultural theorists are at best no more than temporary and fluid constructions. Almost all can be differently arranged with lower, recessive, and conditioned tiers replacing the upper, dominant, and conditioning ones. The hierarchy is o en only in the eye of the ideological beholder. That is an important lesson we can and should learn from observing closely the Jewish literary complex, and especially its modern evolution since the second half of the eighteenth century. Modern Jewish history, with its wildly colliding crosscurrents, did not allow for the emergence of one unified modern Jewish culture or for an integral, albeit multilingual, modern Jewish literature. It rather forces upon the scholarly observer the realization that Jewish culture and literature were fragmented beyond repair. 
It was this realization that sent the early Zionist and Yiddishist theorists on their wild-goose chase after ideologically wished-for but historically impossible unities and continuities. Without necessarily adopting post-Zionist a itudes, I believe we can reverse this process. Zionist theorists, we know, sought a new, or revived, Jewish normalcy: this normalcy would entail a reunification of an exiled and sca ttered people, as well as a reorganization and streamlining of this people’s abnormal, fractured, and scattered cultural legacy. If we accept the so-called abnormality of modern Jewish culture, or even assert its essential normality, we can shed new light on the so-called normal literatures which are, in fact, not that much different from the aggregate of Jewish literatures. For these literatures—particularly the richer and more extensive and expansive ones—are ultimately no more than aggregates of their own, governed by projected hierarchies and imagined common denominators. As the scholarship triggered by the theories of minority discourse and minor literatures demonstrate, these hierarchies reflect the relative stability of the social and political power structures that approve of a culture and a literature of a certain tenor. They purport to express and define the universal human ethical identity while, in fact, they assert and define the identity of the sociocultural powers that be. At the same time, they eliminate other identities, through preferences, canonization, marginalization, and exclusion. 
Jewish culture, lacking the organized socioeconomic and political basis that supported the hierarchical structures of other cultures, could not achieve such impositions—no matter how much Jewish ideologues craved them. It was therefore unable to develop a modern Jewish canon. (This very concept is necessarily self-contradictory; Ruth Wisse’s recent treatise, The Modern Jewish Canon, for example, unwittingly demonstrates this by excluding most of the important modern Jewish fiction writers and by disregarding modern Jewish poetry altogether.) 
As a result of these weaknesses, however, modern Jewish culture and literature only made clear what all modern cultures harbored in the depths of their complex and repressive bulks. What has surfaced throughout the second half of the twentieth century is that cultures and literatures that were supposedly national and monolingual have actually been created, in part, by a host of foreigners and neophytes, whose language of writing was not their mother tongue. We have seen members of repressed and peripheral societies— colonial and otherwise—who have deterritorialized and denationalized languages such as English or French. In fact what we see in the last fifty years can be called the Judaization of modern Western civilization, in the sense that what was once regarded as a peculiar and unfortunate Jewish cultural condition has become quite the normal cultural condition of the West as a whole.


Hölderlin // Die Heimat


Denn sie, die uns das himmlische Feuer leihn,
     Die Götter. schenken heiliges Leid uns auch.
          Drum bleibe dies. Ein Sohn der Erde
               Schein ich: zu lieben gemacht, zu leiden.

FH. Die Heimat.


Bruderschaft // um poema da Ingeborg Bachmann

Alles is Wundenschlagen
und keiner hat keinem verziehn.
Verletzt wie du und verletzend,
lebte ich auf dich hin.

Die reine, die Geistberührung,
um jede Berührung vermehrt,
wir erfahren sie alternd,
ins kälteste Schweigen gekehrt.


The Ashes of Orestes // a tribute poem to Constantine Cavafy

I want you to send in
your heart
into the promise.

Touching its tip,
roll up its long sleeve
pause the film of the circuit.

Avoid self-flattery.
Eavesdrop the prophets.
Be somber Alexander waiting,
The Alexander who stops
And knows not conquest.

Deep in questions and in answers
you know whom it was promised to.

I once was a baffled horse.
I felt my teeth gripping the light.
The close God locked itself
In my uncertain steps.

And when I threw him down,
the fall persuaded him
that God was near.

O, be the Alexander dazzled
by countries and languages,
Be the fake gems on the fake crown,
Be the horse and the rider and the horse
Who drowned in the speechless God.

For there is a season to ride
And a season to convert.
A season to preach,
And a season to blaspheme
A season to man up
And a season to man down
A season to shoot
And a season to hit
A season for God
And a season for doubt
And a gilded season
For the horsemanship of heresy -

To thank and to think is to tell them apart
The cloudy from the misty from the foggy
From the nebulous mind of the Knowers.

You adjust your sight
To horizon and mirage
And to the urging bolt,
Reluctant and jealous of thunder.

Know then your hopes and learn
Of the people of the steppes
Who are saddle and rider and horse
Who are arrow and khan and apostle
Who know the waiting
And who know the waiter
Who will arrive after time itself has waited.

And when you think of them,
Think of the empty desert.
Think of islands of loam and
Think also of mountains
Rising on the unseen side of the earth,
Think of the overheard muttering of seers after prophecy,
Uncertain, God-shaken,
High on fumes and gift,
Their voices selfsame to yours
Their words just as afraid as you
That secretely they might be true.

They will not come until you've settled,
Until you've become their foe,
And inhabit the Sumerian cities
That the soul puts together in dream.

You will till the land
Your daughters and your sons
Will till the land.
You will sacrifice oxen
And your daughters and your sons.

Until the furrows of your brain
Are the sand dunes of your waiting,
You will see no horse and you will see no rider.

Still you may wait and tell of your waiting.


Geoffrey Hill in memoriam // a poem

Days and times of days have gone,
You interrogate, interrogate,
Then curl your fingers down the locks
Of power, of recited words, of force.

Your voice, your ring, your link,
To me. When you speak you string
The chords and cuts of Gungnir, you string
Them up. You hallow torts and twist Andenken.

Yet we pray for princes, we praise
All prayer, and we protest and burn.
You want it back? You want Saturn's
Golden scythe guillotining optimates?

Good luck. Good speech! Good Lord,
If I have to hear another word,
I swear I will just do it all myself,
I swear I will just say it all myself —

The fruit of mercy rolls unsteady
Down the tongue, rashing
Regret, down by Amnon's
Known outrage — We are ready,

So let us sit. And let us now break bread,
Slice it cuneiform. I know you want to say,
If peace is at all possible, then we must engage,
Win and lose at once. If only I could get a gett

From all the tripe of Jewish Christianity.
Yet God is the husband,
And we'd be husbandry. Grab him by the wrists.
Fight him again. Get your damn name back — Hinneni.


contra tyrannos

Of the personality as a mask;
of character as self-founded, self-founding;
and of the sacredness of the person.

Of licence and exorbitance, of scheme
and fidelity; of custom and want of custom;
of dissimulation; of envy

and detraction. Of bare preservation,
of obligation to mutual love;
and of our covenants with language

contra tyrannos.

Sobre a personalidade como uma máscara;
sobre o carácter como auto-fundado, auto-fundador;
e sobre a sacralidade da pessoa.

Sobre a licença e a exorbitância, sobre esquema
e fidelidade; sobre hábito e falta de hábito;
sobre a dissimulação; sobre a inveja

e a detracção. Sobre a nua preservação,
sobre a obrigação ao amor mútuo;
e sobre as nossas alianças com a linguagem

contra tyrannos.

Geoffrey Hill. Scenes from Comus. Penguin: 2005. (Tradução minha.)

Neste texto, verossimilmente a abertura mais arriscada e exposta dum livro de poesia que jamais li, voltamos ao modo épico - frontalmente opondo-se ao coro demótico de Speech! Speech! que denunciava "heroic verse a non-starter, says PEOPLE". (Haverá invocação? Numa República que se queira de seres humanos a esperança posta em deuses é a maior das traições, é a farça na tragédia.) O propósito é o mesmo, porém, que em Speech! Speech!, como aliás talvez seja sempre o propósito em toda a poesia do Geoffrey Hill, principalmente naquela que achamos após a 'derrocada' que lhe cinde a obra em dois: Denunciar todo o falar rendido, traidor, através da honestidade cáustica que é o direito e a licença da poesia, comburir as simplificações e lugares comuns que que faz a própria voz pública metamorfosear-se em tyrannia cíclica ("language / is the energy of decaying sense; / that sense in this sense means sensus communis"), isto é, o new-speech que nos ocupa refolgadamente e que nos rouba da aliança entre dignidade humana e palavra, desolando ambas uno ictu. A rememoração do Auden, que em September 1939 assume a mesma missão ("All I have is a voice / to undo the folded lie, / The romantic lie in the brain / Of the sensual man in the street"), rememoração essa do famoso verso famosamente mudado ("We most love one another or die", aqui mudado em "obligation to mutal love"), revela que o Hill seguirá os vestígios desse outro guerrilheiro da honestidade incondicional. Auden creu naqueles instantes em que "o justos trocam as suas mensagens". O Hill acredita também que nem toda a palavra está já podre. "Common sense bids me add: not / all language", ousará ele poucos poemas adelante.

Mas condenara esse exacto senso comum linha apenas uma acima: Será esta expectativa assente apenas em mais uma mentira, uma esperança plantada, uma distração? Será a poesia um isco para poetas e seus leitores se iludirem, como acontece com a personagem de 1984, pensando que estão a lutar e a fazer a revolução? Há versos como "That this is no reason for us to despair. The tragedy of things is not conclusive; rather, one by which the spirit moves. That it moves in circles need not detain us." que nos trespassam da convicção de que todo o cerco montado a esta estirpe de prophecia - que é a mesma da de Amós, da de Jeremias -, não fará outra coisa que torná-la mais perigosa por isso. Esta é a arma, a única talvez que não seja devorada ou contagiável, para restituir a rem publicam: ope vocis, contra tyrannos.

Marvel at our contrary orbits. Mine
salutes yours, whenever we pass or corss,

which may be now, might very well be now.

(texto de 2012)