I am translating some Brazilian songs, this is first of many others that will come 🙂
During Brazil’s military coup d’état of 1964, Chico Buarque wrote about the events which transpired and avoided censorship by using cryptic analogies and wordplay. For example, in the song “Cálice” (“Chalice”, or Jesus’ Last Supper “Cup”), he takes advantage of the homophony between the Portuguese imperative “shut your mouth” –cale-se– and “chalice” –cálice– to protest censorship against freedom of speech.
Chalice (Chico Buarque)
Father, remove from me this chalice (3x)
of wine tinted with blood!
How to drink this bitter drink
Inhale the pain, swallow the drudgery.
Even if the mouth is shut, the heart still remains
Silence in the city is not heard.
For what is it worth for me to be the son of the holy mother
It would be better that I were born to another
Another reality less lethal
Without so many lies and repression.
How hard it is to wake up silenced
If I hurt myself in the quiet of night
I desire to release an inhuman scream
Which would be a way to be heard
All of this silence makes me dizzy
Dazed, I remain attentive
In the expectation of, at any moment,
To see the monster of the lake emerge
From so much fat, the hog no longer walks
From so much use, the knife has gone dull
How hard it is, father, to open the door
With this word stuck in my throat
This Homeric drunkenness in the world
What’s the advantage of having good will?
Even if the heart is silenced, consciousness remains
Of all the drunkards in the center of the city
Perhaps the world isn’t that small
Nor is life a consummated fact
I desire to invent my own sin
I want to die from my own poison!
And disconnect my mind from yours
May my head lose your way of thinking
I want to sniff diesel fumes
And get intoxicated until I’m forgotten!