Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Ricardo Marques is a poet and translator who lives in Lisbon. He has lived in London, where he was commissioned to compose two poems for the 60th anniversary of the Organ in the Royal Festival Hall. He has translated different poets into Portuguese: Anne Carson, Billy Collins, D.H. Lawrence, Patti Smith, Vicente Huidobro and Tennessee Williams, among others. His most recent poems in English were published in the anthology "Europoe - an anthology of 21st century innovative European poetry" (Kingston Univ. Press, 2019). In the fall 2019, a groundbreaking anthology on European Futurist poetry, organized and translated by him, will be published for the first time in Portuguese.
THESE ARE THE HANDS THAT MAKE THE POEM
These are the hands that make the poem, and perform the music:
If I had to compose something for this organ that would possibly be a sonnet, a little sound in homage, or a song, with rhymes and rhythms, like a crown of proper copper not brass, to burn while it blasts its breathing
To shine while it is being played
This organ sits in its place like a wide range of families brought together for the single event of being alive: to collaborate
sucking up the energy around, fuming like volcanos exploring space
See it now, again: its face in full splendor the organs in the organ:
open lungs, open heart, pressed by time in a compass, com pressed by pedals awaiting the feet of the poet, deciphering strategies and unforeseen forces, Like in a poem.
Hear the mathematics of its music transfused into words and remember you'll never write alone – every aspect of its verb will be heard in all the things we are made of
in the grand scheme of things
these pipes have their own dreams a tongue inside that vibrates.
Let this be the day the town will stop to hear itself among its people, like sixty years from here, we all unborn or recently dead, in the cacophony of a lost universe,
bear and naked like a lost soul, dispersed among the ruins of a full length moon,
Let this organ play for peace, inaugurate a time for hope, an everlasting kind of love, the applause in the audience
This is not a lonely instrument, listen: it is here for you:
its heaviness is not measured in tones. Because life is atonal, its tunes are topical and remedy for better use:
hear it now again, stung in this life and death battle:
pedals, stops, pipes, exhausting vertical accelerations by fingers, yes fingers:
and when you finish listening all you'll leave behind is the touch and the silence, because the music of life is immaterial, immortal.