Forever

– Carlos Drummond de Andrade, translated by Oliveira Simões

Dedicated to my mother Antônia (in memoriam) and all the mothers in the world.

Why does God permit
mothers to disappear?
A mother has no limit,
she is time infinite,
a light that never flickers
when the wind blows
and the rain pours,
a hidden velvet
in the wrinkled skin,
pure water, fresh air,
clear thoughts.
Dying happens
to what is fragile, and passes
leaving no trace.
But a mother, in her grace,
is herself eternal.
Why does God remember
— such a profound mystery —
to take her one day?
Were I king of the world,
I would hand down a decree:
Mothers shall never die,
Mothers shall stay forever
with their beloved newborns
and they, however old,
shall be forever small
like ears of corn.