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 go away?
A mother has no limit,
she’s 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’s brief, and passes
leaving not one trace.
But a mother, in her grace,
is herself eternal.
Why does God have
— what a profound mystery —
to take her one day?
Were I King of the World,
I would hand down a decree:
A mother shall never die,
a mother shall stay forever
with her beloved newborn
and he, however old,
shall be forever little
like an ear of corn.