Antonio Franco Alexandre: from Dwelling Places

(On poems by Avraham ben Ytzhak)

by seven paths, a moon, a poison,
by seven paths we depart,
in the air’s knapsack, in the wind’s boat.
we soon get lost in the blue woods,
on the road, in fear, in the untold secret,
down seven paths we’re torn to pieces.

the day bequeaths a gray sun to the day,
one night complains to another,
tomorrow we’ll die without words.
and on the day of the march we’ll be at the door,
finally close, if the heart rejoices.

the day gives a radiant sun to the day,
the night pours stars into another night,
happy are those who sow and don’t reap:
they know their heart is crying in the desert,
silence flowers on their lips.
by seven paths we depart,
by one we return.

—translated from Portugese by Richard Zenith