Reading: So Little Depends by Miguel-Manso

Miguel Manso (b. 1979) is a Portuguese poet born in Santarém. He has written eight books of poetry. I read a verse with a title that appealed to me, ‘so little depends’:

The original is on the website of Poetry International.

So Little Depends
you prefer the corner, the hidden place
the foliage, the shadow, the room, this
sack of wheat: textual gold
spread out on the old secretaire of the real

outside the blaze of the wood
the quick glazing of the fields
here inside, less leeway – another

panorama: simply the presence
uninhabited by a person, mystery without
attribute or function

always the undoing of a heart
the industrial cultivation of figures
and leftover sadness and days for the body that writes
in the calaboose of a vast morning

radiant with drops of honey
as the cats lick Saturday
and sitting, like a gold frog, you let yourself add to the world
(but why) another poem

I like this kind of imaginative poetry. The metaphors are wonderful and so is the meta-metaphor of the ‘secretary of the real’ I think of the Lacanian Real here). I try to understand the meaning of the dichotomy outside-inside. In the Portuguese original, ‘leeway’ is ‘caminho’, there is less road here inside. The simple presence is unambiguous. It is a writer’s desk and his struggle with emotion is beautifully rendered here, I quote the original to give some sense of the sound of the Portuguese:

sempre a desfeita de um coração
o cultivo intensivo das figuras
e sobram tristeza e dias ao corpo que escreve
no calabouço de uma manhã muito larga

I have my own writer’s dungeon that I will call calaboose from now on. Adding another poem to the world, never sure about why we do this. But this is how the poetic survives: By gestures of poets who imagine they are gold frogs and rewrite everything in a next poem.

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