Halloween doesn’t make a big splash here. It’s like being in Denmark again: the Danes have their own holiday where everyone dresses up in silly costumes (Fastelavn), and only the Americanophiles blink an eye on October 31st. I remember that we tried to have a Halloween party in Odense – the neighborhood kids were appreciative of the candy, but not too keen on The Addams Family. Rio, for its part, has Carnaval, so the prospect of skimpy nurse outfits kind of pales in comparison to the samba schools.
But the Instituto Moreira Salles, much like teens craving popularity in late-October Disney Channel movies, is planning a Halloween party for the ages. Not quite in a spiking-the-punch sense. Inspired by Bloomsday, the international annual commemoration of the day in which Ulysses takes place, the IMS is trying to make fetch happen. “Fetch,” in this case, being Dia D, a Bloomsday to mark the birthday of that monument of Brazilian poetry (although not so much if you ask Nelson Rodrigues), Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Which happens to be on October 31st.
This is the first-ever Dia D, but the Instituto’s hoping that it spreads across the country. “In schools, universities, libraries, bars, museums, on TV, on the radio, in cultural centers and even in solitude, doesn’t matter where or how, remember to celebrate Drummond and his poetry.”
My form of pre-gaming is as follows. Last winter I copied out some of my favorite passages from a sublime little Drummond collection – 50 poems chosen by the author – and I’ve just translated a few of them with utterly indecent haste and reproduced them out of context. Homage or sacrilege? Well, I had fun doing it.
Lembrança do mundo antigo
[…] As crianças olhavam para o céu: não era proibido.
A boca, o nariz, os olhos estavam abertos. Não havia perigo.
Os perigos que Clara temia eram a gripe, o calor, os insetos.
Clara tinha medo de perder o bonde das 11 horas,
esperava cartas que custavam a chegar,
nem sempre podia usar vestido novo. Mas passava no jardim, pela manhã!!!
Havia jardins, havia manhãs naquele tempo!!!
Remembrance of the Ancient World
The children looked at the sky: it was not forbidden.
Mouth, nose, eyes, all open. There was no danger.
The dangers that Clara feared were flu, heat, insects.
Clara was afraid of missing the 11 o’clock streetcar,
awaited letters that were slow to come,
couldn’t always wear new dresses. But she walked through the garden, in the morning!!!
There were gardens, there were mornings back then!!! Continue reading