My father rode off on his horse to the fields.
My mother sat in a chair and sewed.
My little brother slept.
And I, on my own among the mango trees,
read the story of Robinson Crusoe.
A long story that never ends.
In the white light of noon, a voice that learned lullabies
In shanties from the slave days and never forgot them
called us for coffee.
Coffee as black as the old black maid,
My mother, still sitting there sewing,
looked at me:
“Shhh … Don’t wake the baby.”
Then at the crib where a mosquito had landed.
She uttered a sigh … how deep!
Far away my father was riding
in the ranch’s endless pasture.
And I didn’t know that my story
was more beautiful than Robinson’s Crusoe.
Multitudinous Heart – Selected Poems – A Bilingual Edition – By Carlos Drummond de Andrade – Translation By Richard Zenith – Farrar, Straus and Giroux – June 2015.