Poem By Fernando Pinto do Amaral

The greatest motivation in his life
was perhaps curiosity.

It drove him on: he approached
every woman he met,
but he was only interested in their hearts.

He methodically followed this obsession
and like a child
with its favourite toy
he also wanted to see what was inside,
find out exactly how it worked,
to shred each hope in slow motion,
dissect with almost scientific rigour
each anguish, each unavowable desire,
till he felt the ever fresh taste
in each one of those cells.

After each experiment, he observed
the dismantled hearts
and, not being able to reassemble them,
he gathered them one by one into his breast.
It was a safe place
and holding so many pieces of other lives
pulsating out of step
he could at last believe
that he also had a heart.

Translation by Ana Hudson

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Other poems of DO AMARAL


Tonight I died many times over, waiting
for a sudden dream to come
and dance in the dark with my soul
as long as it were you who led


I don't know what a spirit is. No one
knows in depth the light of his own abyss
as at night the wind opens
the infinite doors of an empty

The other cheek

You'll be back here, you'll feel
the world's stupidity like a pendulum
striking the right hours
in the rhythm of days, weeks,


My contemporaries speak a lot
and say: "So, here's how it is"
in the brazen manner of ones fed

Lay down your arms

Lay down your arms, go on, stop giving in
to the wills of others manoeuvring you
like a lost pawn in this game
with no rules or truths which might dress you