After the recent suicides of poets Sarah Hannah and Liam Rector, I post this poem, by Brazil’s Carlos Drummond de Andrade, with some urgency. And deep sadness.

DON’T KILL YOURSELF

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Carlos, keep calm, love
is what you’re seeing now:
today a kiss, tomorrow no kiss,
day after tomorrow’s Sunday
and nobody knows what will happen
Monday.

It’s useless to resist
or to commit suicide.
Don’t kill yourself. Don’t kill yourself!
Keep all of yourself for the nuptials
coming nobody knows when,
that is, if they ever come.

Love, Carlos, tellurian, spent the night with you,
and now your insides are raising an ineffable racket,
prayers,
victrolas,
saints crossing themselves,
ads for a better soap,
a racket of which nobody
knows the why or wherefore.

In the meantime you go on your way
vertical, melancholy.
You’re the palm tree, you’re the cry
nobody heard in the theatre
and all the lights went out.
Love in the dark, no, love
in the daylight, is always sad,
sad, Carlos, my boy,
but tell it to nobody,
nobody knows nor shall know.

(Translated by Elizabeth Bishop)

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