Moça Tomando Café
In a café in Paris
A lovely girl, with vacant eyes, drinks coffee.
But the girl doesn’t know-why would she?-
That before her cup of coffee there was a blue sea;
And long before the blue sea there was a ship…
And before the ship, a southern land;
And on that land, there was a port, buzzing continuously
With cranes grumbling overhead of trains
And setting up signposts along the sea coast…
And before the port, the early train
Ascending-descending the mountains, inexorably shrieking.
On tracks that wail in pain…
And before the mountains was the station clock…
Thrumming like a pulse,
Always on time, beating thus.
And before this station stretches the coffee farm.
And before the farm, finally, is the man,
Who alone knocked down the brutal forest.
A man covered in dirt, a farmer,
Who sleeps rich, his plantation white with flowers,
Only to wake again the next morning poor (no surprise)…
Black frost has scorched the fields.
Riches are a bride-what can one do?
Making promises and breaking them, not meaning to….
Dressed like this, enchanting with flowers,
In the pale night; in her bridal veil.
But the rising sun burns the veil.
Sending it madly into the sky,
Tearing it from the farmer’s hands.
Where is the jungle?
The farmer has torn it down.
Where is the farmer?
He is planting coffee.
Where is the coffee?
The girl’s drunk it.
But the girl, where is she?
She is in Paris.
written by: Cassiano Ricardo (1936)
translated by: Sabine Parrish (2018)