Improve your Brazilian pronunciation with Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Poet, journalist and author, Carlos Drummond de Andrade is considered one of the greatest geniuses of the Brazilian poetry of all time. He was born in a mining village of Minas Gerais, in the Southeast of Brazil, in 1902. Influenced by his family, he went to a school of pharmacy, but never worked in the area. Drummond dedicated most of his life to poetry and was responsible for disseminating the Modernism Movement in Brazil. One of its marks is the variety of themes he wrote about. His poetry is about love and politics, about important facts and things of the daily life. His style was unique. He was able to translate ideas, social problems and particular troubles into words. Carlos Drummond de Andrade died in 1987 and is probably one of the most influential Brazilian poets of the 20th century.

A well-known single poem wrote by him is José, which talks about the boredom and loneliness of a man, lost in its own world. Have a look at the poem and listen to it in our podcast. That’s a good exercise to improve your pronunciation skills.
Picture: Carlos Drummond de Andrade



E agora, José?

A festa acabou,

a luz apagou,

o povo sumiu,

a noite esfriou,

e agora, José?

e agora, você?

você que é sem nome,

que zomba dos outros,

você que faz versos,

que ama, protesta?

e agora, José?

Está sem mulher,

está sem discurso,

está sem carinho,

já não pode beber,

já não pode fumar,

cuspir já não pode,

a noite esfriou,

o dia não veio,

o bonde não veio,

o riso não veio,

não veio a utopia

e tudo acabou

e tudo fugiu

e tudo mofou,

e agora, José?

E agora, José?

Sua doce palavra,

seu instante de febre,

sua gula e jejum,

sua biblioteca,

sua lavra de ouro,

seu terno de vidro,

sua incoerência,

seu ódio – e agora?

Com a chave na mão

quer abrir a porta,

não existe porta;

quer morrer no mar,

mas o mar secou;

quer ir para Minas,

Minas não há mais.

José, e agora?

Se você gritasse,

se você gemesse,

se você tocasse

a valsa vienense,

se você dormisse,

se você cansasse,

se você morresse…

Mas você não morre,

você é duro, José!

Sozinho no escuro

qual bicho-do-mato,

sem teogonia,

sem parede nua

para se encostar,

sem cavalo preto

que fuja a galope,

você marcha, José!

José, para onde?


What now, José?

The party’s over,

the lights are off,

the crowd’s gone,

the night’s gone cold,

what now, José?

what now, you?

you without a name,

who mocks the others,

you who writes poetry

who loves, protests?

what now, José?

You have no wife,

you have no speech

you have no affection,

you can’t drink,

you can’t smoke,

you can’t even spit,


the night’s gone cold,

the day didn’t come,

the tram didn’t come,

laughter didn’t come

utopia didn’t come

and everything ended

and everything fled

and everything rotted

what now, José?

what now, José?

Your sweet words,

your instance of fever,

your feasting and fasting,

your library,

your gold mine,

your glass suit,

your incoherence,

your hate―what now?

Key in hand

you want to open the door,

but no door exists;

you want to die in the sea,

but the sea has dried;

you want to go to Minas

but Minas is no longer there.

José, what now?

If you screamed,

if you moaned,

if you played

a Viennese waltz,

if you slept,

if you tired,

if you died…

But you don’t die,

you’re stubborn, José!

Alone in the dark

like a wild animal,

without tradition,

without a naked wall

to lean against,

without a black horse

that flees galloping,

you march, José!

José, where to?





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