from João Cabral de Melo Neto’s O Mar eo Canavial


hat the sea does learn from the cane field:
the horizontal eloquence of its verse;
the farming of romantic narrative poetry, uninterrupted,
spoken in a voice that parallels silence.
What the sea doesn’t learn from the canefield:
the vehement passion of high tide;
the two-handed-pestle of waves on sand,
grinding and crushing, pounded by what pounds.


hat the canefield does learn from the sea:
The advancing in an unreliable line of a wave;
the liquid’s meticulous overflow
flooding cove after cove expanding itself
What the canefield doesn’t learn from the sea:
the cane’s excessive fear of flowing;
the modesty of the extensive holdings of the sea,
which lacking ballast, sheds itself.