Sunday Poem


‘I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important
beyond all this fiddle,’ Marianne Moore said about
poetry. In any case, she was able
to see mitochondria and all the other
tiny lives – eye fixed
on the minute blotch of watercolor
compressed between two glass slides
the pupil round with wonder
just before mystery: to know what it was.

Is it more important to observe or to designate?
I fear sometimes I look askew
forget the tree where I left my keys
and my notebook, then I don’t know what to call
what, kind or relation, though I find
tranquility in the arcane language of the plane trees
behind the plaques in the botanical garden.
So I serve badly, I’m other, the odd one
out, a tourist here in so much

that pleases me and is work.
But it’s still not said (or is) if I insist
on my small scale in this myself
it’s because I don’t disconnect and touch and fail
at what’s in plain sight, raw
language clear in brute sky

by Margarida Vale de Gato
publisher: Douda Correria, Lisboa, 2016

translation (original here): Martin Earl, 2017