Astrid Cabral

Alexis Levitin

Retrato (Portrait), Vento (Wind): Astrid Cabral, translated by Alexis Levitin


Já viste pássaro
ter raízes?
Já viste árvore
ter asas?
Já viste peixe
ter voz?

Olha pra mim.


Have you ever seen a bird
with roots?
Have you ever seen a tree
with wings?
Have you ever seen a fish
with a voice?

Look at me.


Só os auto suficientes
ou anestesiados loucos
torcem a cara ao vento
o beijo da brisa
no rosto
o invisível abraço
no corpo.


Only the self-sufficient
or anesthetized madmen
twist their head away from the wind
the kiss of a breeze
on the face
and on the body
its invisible embrace.

Astrid Cabral is a leading Brazilian poet and environmentalist who grew up beside the Amazon River. She is the translator of Thoreau’s Walden into Portuguese. She has won a dozen literary awards in Brazil and her work has been included in over sixty anthologies. Among her twenty books are the collections Gazing Through Water, Cage, The Waiting Room, Word in the Spotlight, and Intimate Soot. Her poems have appeared in over thirty magazines in the United States, including Bitter Oleander, Catamaran, Confrontation, Dirty Goat, Osiris and Per Contra. Her book Cage, poems from the Amazon, appeared from Host Publications in 2008.

Alexis Levitin has published forty-seven books in translation, mostly poetry from Portugal, Brazil, and Ecuador. In addition to five books by Salgado Maranhão, his work includes Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm, Eugénio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words (both from New Directions), and Astrid Cabral’s Cage. He has served as a Fulbright Lecturer at the Universities of Oporto and Coimbra, Portugal, The Catholic University in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and the Federal University of Santa Catarina, in Brazil and has held translation residencies at the Banff Center, Canada, The European Translators Collegium in Straelen, Germany (twice), and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy.