Motive • Cecília Meireles

Cecília Meireles was a Brazilian writer, educator, and poet from Rio de Janeiro. Born in 1901, she lost her dad even before she was born, and when she was only 3 years old her mother died, being then raised by her maternal grandmother. Later Cecília wrote: “My lonely infancy gave me two things that might seem negative, but were positive for me: silence and solitude.”
She published her first book at the age of eighteen, it was a book of sonnets, and later she worked as a journalist writing columns (crônicas, or chronicles) focused most often on education, but also on her trips abroad in Europe, Israel, and India, and she also translated into Portuguese such diverse writers as Federico García Lorca, Ibsen, Rilke, and Virginia Woolf.
Portuguese poetry especially interested her, and she even lectured on Brazilian literature at the universities of Lisbon and Coimbra. Cecília has twice been nominated for the Nobel Prize, and she died of cancer in 1964.


I sing because the moment exists
And my life is complete.
I am not happy, I am not sad:
I am a poet.

Brother of fugitive things,
I feel no delight or torment.
I cross nights and days
In the wind.

Whether I destroy or build,
Whether I persist or disperse,
— I don´t know, I don´t know.
I don´t know if I stay or go.

I know that I sing.
The song is everything.
The rhythmic wing has eternal blood,
And I know that one day I shall be dumb:
— Nothing more.

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