By Eugénio de Andrade 1923–2005 Eugenio de Andrade

Translated from the Portuguese by Atsuro Riley Read the translator's notes

Wherever the earth is crag and scrub, the goats are there—the black ones, girlishly skipping, leaping their little leaps from rock to rock. I’ve loved their nerve and frisk since I was small.

Once my grandfather gave me one of my own. He showed me how I could serve myself when I got hungry, from the full-feeling bags there like warmish wineskins, where I’d let my hands linger some before bringing my mouth close, so the milk wouldn’t go to waste on my face, my neck, even my naked chest, which did happen sometimes, who knows if on purpose, my mind dwelling all the while on the savory-smelling vulvazinha. I called her Maltesa; she was my horse; I could almost say she was my first woman.

Source: Poetry (June 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011


Portuguese poet and translator Eugénio de Andrade was born José Fontinhas in Póvoa de Atalaia, Portugal. After his parents separated, the poet moved with his mother to Lisbon and then Coimbra. Influenced by surrealist thought, ancient Greek poetry, and Japanese haiku, Andrade wrote spare, concrete, lyric poems celebrating the body and the natural world with elemental precision.
“[I]n Eugénio’s poetry, more than any other I . . .

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Poems by Eugénio de Andrade

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Pets, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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