(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

The Uses of Sorrow. Thirst. Mary Oliver. Beacon Press. 2007.

    They both knew well enough. The rain would go on, the boat would grow heavy, the waves would come in over the stern, she’d sink in her lines. But how deep would she sink, and would the rocks on the bottom knock her to pieces, or was it calm down there despite the storm, and how deep was it, how many meters…?
    “Did you admire him?” Jonna asked.
    “Naturally. But being a father wasn’t easy for him”
    “Not for mine, either,” Jonna said. “It’s funny. You actually know very little. We never asked, never tried to find out about the things that were really important. We didn’t have time. What was it we were so busy with?”
    Mari said, “Work probably. And falling in love—that takes an awful lot of time. But we still could have asked.”

Viktoria. Fair Play. Tove Jansson. New York Review Books. 2011.

The story went thus:—There were two friends, one of these two friends was money borrower, he had no other work than to borrow and he was feeding on any money that he was borrowing. One day, he borrowed £1 from his friend. After a year his friend who lent him the money, asked him to refund the £1 to him, but the borrower said that he would not pay the £1 and said that he had never paid any debit since he was borrowing money and since he was born. When his friend who lent him the £1 heard so from him, he said nothing, but went back to his house quietly. One day, the lender heard information that there was a debit-collector who was bold enough to collect debits from anybody whatsoever. Then he (lender) went to the debit-collector and told him that somebody owed him £1 since a year, but he refused to pay it back; after the debit-collector heard so, then both of them went to the house of the borrower. When he had showed the house of the borrower to the collector, he went back to his home.

When the debit-collector asked for the £1 which he (borrower) had borrowed from his friend since a year, the debitor (borrower) replied that he never paid any of his debits since he was born, then the debit-collector said that he never failed to collect debits from any debitor since he had begun the work. The collector said furthermore that to collect debits about was his profession and he was living on it. But after the debitor heard so from the collector, he also said that his profession was to owe debits and he was living only on debits. In conclusion, both of them started to fight but, as they were fighting fiercely, a man who was passing that way at that time saw them and he came nearer; he stood behind them looking at them, because he was very interested in this fight and he did not part them. But when these two fellows had fought fiercely for one hour, the debitor who owed the £1 pulled out a jack-knife from his pocket and stabbed himself at the belly, so he fell down and died there. But when the debit-collector saw that the debitor died, he thought within himself that he had never failed to collect any debit from any debitor in this world since he had started the work and he (collector) said that if he could not collect the £1 from him (debitor) in this world, he (collector) would collect it in heaven. So he (collector) also pulled out a jack-knife from his pocket and stabbed himself as well, and he fell down and died there.

As the man who stood by and looking at them was very, very interested in that fight, he said that he wanted to see the end of the fight, so he jumped up and fell down at the same spot and died there as well so as to witness the end of the fight in heaven.

The Palm-Wine Drinkard. Amos Tutuola. Faber & Faber. 2014.

Ele ergue-se e sobre o rosto pálido, beijando-lhe os olhos cerrados, pensou: ela julga pedir e não sabe quanto dá, fugiu para mim do seu isolamento e não pressente o meu. Só agora a via, aquela ao lado de quem estivera sentado toda a tarde, cego; e viu que tinha mãos e dedos compridos e esguios, lindos ombros, um rosto cheio de medo destinal, de cega ânsia infantil e um saber quase receoso dos deliciosos caminhos e artes da ternura.

«Ele e o Outro» («Klein und Wagner»). Hermann Hesse. Guimarães & C.ª Editores. 1979.

Os lamentos é que não cessavam, e se Vossa Excelência me disser que era uma suposição minha, e que tudo não passava do vento que fazia soltar esse ruído no meio das folhas, a verdade é que, nessa noite de Maio, não havia nem uma aragem, estando Lisboa pesada e quente como se já estivéssemos no Verão, tendo sido isso que me levou a interromper por um momento o serviço para ir beber umas cervejas ao balcão de um café, coisa que eu sei que não é permitida nas horas de serviço, mas o facto é é que não há nada pior para o exercício da autoridade do que um agente indisposto com o calor, pelo que essas imperiais, geladas como deve ser, me souberam a pouco, mas por outro lado propiciaram a minha paragem no topo do Jardim do Campo Grande, pelo que até posso afirmar que a cerveja, tomada à hora certa, é o melhor auxiliar de ordem pública que se pode imaginar.

Nuno Júdice. Uma História de Amor. Granta Portugal 6 “Noite”. Tinta da China. 2015.

But Berlin and Kay found a further surprising result. The order in which basic color categories enter languages is not arbitrary either. If a language has only two colors—and all languages have at least two—they are always white and black; if a language has three colors, the one added is red; if a fourth is added, it will be either green or yellow; when a fifth is added, it will then include both green and yellow; the sixth added is blue; the seventh added is brown; and if an eight or more terms are added, it or they will be purple, pink, orange, or gray. Considerable subsequent research on color classification has necessitated modifications in this sequence, yet basic color terms apparently evolve in a largely universal pattern (Witkowski and Brown 1978). Berlin and Kat (1969:159) dismiss “extreme linguistic-cultural relativism”, at least with respect to basic color term, as a “myth created by linguists and anthropologists”.

Donald E. Brown. Human Universals. McGraw-Hill. 1991.

saio hoje ao mundo,
cordão de sangue à volta do pescoço,
e tão sôfrego e delicado e furioso,
de um lado ou de outro para sempre num sufôco,
iminente para sempre

                                                 23.XI.2010: 80 ANOS
Herberto Helder. Servidões. Assírio & Alvim. 2013.