To Read on a Winter’s Day

This poem was found tacked up to the wall of the cafe this morning. It’s been a cold, long winter, and since the cafe can only serve takeaway pastries and coffees, I thought I’d share it. 

Mario de Andrade, the author of the poem, was a Brazilian novelist, essayist and musicologist, and one of my Brazilian mother Dona Mathilde’s favorite poets.


I counted my years 
& realized that I have
 Less time to live by, 
 Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure 
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed, 
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience 
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age, 
have not grown up.

My time is too short: 
I want the essence, 
my spirit is in a hurry. 
 I do not have much candy
 In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans, 
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs 
 & who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended 
 and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
 have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.
Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
 I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite, 
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied 
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.
We have two lives
& the second begins when you realize you only have one.