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from the May 2020 issue

Song for My Father

Canção Para O Meu Pai

Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father” inspires childhood dreams and adult reflections in this poem by Filinto Elísio.


We talked about “the first man”
to walk on the moon. And that the music played
on Apollo 11, it turned out, was “Georgia
On My Mind,” sung by Ray Charles.
Nha Gina, who worked for us as a
housemaid, refused to believe, looking up at the moon,
that the Americans had finally gotten
there. This was an argument she'd picked up in
Dona Mindoca’s house and I, a mixture of inspired
and provocative, predicted that perhaps for
Apollo 12 the music would be Horace Silver’s
“Song For My Father.”

Now, with plenty of water under the bridge of my
life, far removed from childhood and those surging
conversations with my father, when I look to the moon
(or am bathed in moonlight), I see the music and muse
that, existentially, nurture me. In
the groove . . .


© Filinto Elísio. Translation © 2020 by Jethro Soutar. All rights reserved.

Canção Para O Meu Pai

Falávamos sobre o “primeiro homem”
a pisar a lua. E que a música tocada no
Apolo 11, logo alunado, fora “Georgia
On My Mind”, na voz de Ray Charles.
Nha Gina, que trabalhava connosco como
doméstica, recusava, olhando para o luar,
que os americanos haviam finalmente lá
chegado. Era discussão pegada em casa da
Dona Mindoca, e eu, entre imaginativo
e polémico, vaticinava que, se calhar para
o Apolo 12, seria com a música “Song for
My Father”, de Horace Silver.
Hoje, muitas águas sob a ponte da minha
vida, longe da infância e das caudalosas
conversas com o meu pai, olho para a lua
(e em banho de luar), canção e escanção
que, existencialmente, me amanham. In
the groove . . .

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