Recipe for a New Year

Drummond sitting on a bench by the beach wishing you a Happy New Year.
Drummond sitting on a bench by the beach wishing you a Happy New Year.

Recipe for a New Year

by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Humbly translated by Nando Cuca

If you want to get a beautiful New Year

All rainbow coloured, or painted whatever colour you call peace.

A New Year which does not compare to any already lived

(not well lived maybe, or senselessly)

To get a a New Year that is not just bish-boshed with a quick lick of paint,

but a brand new one,

new down to the heart of all things unnoticed

(what's inside for starters)

new, spontaneous and so perfect you won't even notice,

that with it you eat, walk, love, understand and work.

You don't need to drink champagne or any other booze,

don't need to send or receive messages (do plants get messages or send emails?)

You don't need to make lists of resolutions

only to file them away in your bureau drawer.

Don't cry in repentante for past foibles and don't go

blindly believing that, by none other than hope itself,

that from January onwards things will change and all will be clear and rewarding,

and there will be justice for all men and nations,

a freshly baked bread smelling kind of freedom and

respected rights, starting with the august right to live itself.

To get a New Year

deserving of this title

you, my dear, will have to earn it,

make it new. And I know it's not easy,

but do try, experiment, and be conscient that

it's inside of you that a New Year snoozes and

waits... since always.

Happy 2009


Carlos Drummond de Andrade

was probably the most influential poet of contemporary Brazilian literature. He was born in Minas Gerais but lived and died in Rio. He's now a bronze statue sitting on a bench on the beach promenade in Copacabana.

Nando Cuca is uniquely unqualified to translate Drummond's work, but is always willing to have a go. He used to live in Rio but was transplanted to London 19 years ago.

Many thanks to Jonga Oliviere for sending me this poem I just had to share with you and to Isabela kassow for the inspired photo.

GoGo Surprise Muffin

Rice and Squid Brazilian style