Days of Yore
I am a friend of the past.
I have good relations with it.
I do not frighten myself when I hear the gong ringing
and it says, hello, I am here, I am reminded of you today.
There is no time or day set for its appearance.
Today it reminded me the ways in the paternal farm,
where, solitary but not sad or haunted,
I walked in my childhood and youth.
We said of the blue-back grassquits,
which landed on the wire fences, sang,
and gave three leaps, up and down.
We said of when I was walking alone on the tracks,
wanting to sneeze, had to wait to cross someone,
and so sneeze, for it was needed to hear from him:
God help you!
We reminded the stone mill, operated by the water wheel,
that grinded the kernels producing corn meals,
used for the baked cakes on the wood-burning ovens,
one’s brick-made at the open air in the yard.
Also remembered the school of D. Maria Dias,
who lectured in the cellar, where we studied
until the third year, for the fourth one had to be
in the town school.
There were some comrades, who came annually
from extinct mines where gold was exhausted,
to work on our crops: coffee, corn, rice and beans.
We prayed the rosary every night, and, on Sundays,
our family went to mass in the town church, smoothing,
for years and years, the bank with our name inscribed,
friends we were of God and of the parish priest.
Times of old, when we were happy,
and we did not know.
So happy that we lived in Paradise,
which was the name of that hinterland.
Really, some of us came to believe
the bible had borrowed it for the land
of one of its best known stories.
Edilson Afonso Ferreira, 76, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Widely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67 after retiring as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor: One Hundred Poems, was launched in London in November of 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.