The World Machine


Carlos Drummond de Andrade

And as I vaguely insole
a Minas road, rocky,
and in the late afternoon a hoarse bell
mix with the sound of my shoes
that it was paused and dry; and birds hovered
in the leaden sky, and its black forms
slowly if they were diluting
in the greater darkness, coming from the hills
and of my own being disillusioned,
the machine of the world parted
for those who break it already dodged
and just having thought about it.
It opened up majestic and circumspect,
without making a sound that was impure
not a flash greater than the tolerable
for pupils spent on inspection
continuous and painful desert,
and the exhausted mind of lying
a whole reality that transcends
the image itself its debugged
in the face of the mystery, in the abysses.
It opened in pure calm, and inviting
how many senses and intuitions were left
whoever used them had already lost them
and I wouldn’t even want to get them back,
if in vain and forever we repeat
the same without sad periplated scripts,
inviting them all, in cohort,
to apply on the unprecedented pasture
of the mythical nature of things,
so he told me, although no voice
or blow or echo or simple percussion
attest that someone, on the mountain,
to someone else, nocturnal and miserable,
at a conference he was addressing:
“What did you look for in yourself or outside
your being restricted and never showed yourself,
even affecting giving or surrendering,
and with each moment more withdrawing,
look, notice, listen: this wealth
over all pearl, this science
sublime and formidable, but hermetic,
this total explanation of life,
that first and singular nexus,
you don’t even conceive anymore, because it’s so elusive
revealed itself before the fiery research
in which you consumed yourself … see, contemplate,
open your chest to wrap it. ”
The most superb bridges and buildings,
what is elaborated in the workshops,
what we thought was and soon reaches
greater distance than thought,
the dominated land resources,
and passions and impulses and torments
and everything that defines the terrestrial being
or extends even in animals
and reaches the plants to get soaked
in the spiteful sleep of the ores,
goes around the world and engulfs itself again,
in the strange geometric order of everything,
and the original absurdity and its riddles,
its high truths more than all
monuments raised to the truth:
and the memory of the gods, and the solemn
feeling of death, which flourishes
on the stem of the most glorious existence,
everything presented itself at a glance
and called me to his august kingdom,
after all submitted to human sight.
But, as I was reluctant to answer
to such a wonderful appeal,
because the faith had softened, and even the yearning,
the most minimal hope – this yearning
to see the thick darkness faded
that between the rays of the sun it still filters;
as defunct beliefs summoned
promptly and fretfully did not take place
to dye the neutral face again
that I go through the paths demonstrating,
and as if another being, no longer that
inhabitant of me for so many years,
started to command my will
which, already volatile, closed
similar to those reticent flowers
in themselves open and closed;
as if a late gift was no longer
appetizing, before despising,
I looked down, incurious, lazy,
disdaining to reap the offer thing
that opened free to my mill.
The strictest darkness ever landed
over the Minas road, rocky,
and the machine of the world, repelled,
if it was carefully recomposing,
while I, evaluating what I had lost,
he was still slow, with thoughtful hands.

Originally published in the book “Claro Enigma”, the text above was extracted from the book “Nova Encontro”, José Olympio Editora – Rio de Janeiro, 1985, p. 300.

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