Summer Solstice Mediation Poem

Summer Solstice Mediation Poem

The Summer Solstice takes place at 1:20 pm EDT today. Although by no means the end of the world, I always find the longest day of the year a bit melancholy, like a dream you would like to last forever, but know cannot. “The End of the World” by Joao Cabral de Melo Neto is one of my favourite poems of all time.

The End of the World

At the end of the melancholy world
men read the newspapers.
Men indifferent to eating oranges
that flame like the sun.

They gave me an apple to remind me
of death. I know that cities telegraph
asking for kerosene. The veil I saw flying
fell in the desert.

No one will write the final poem
about this particular twelve o’clock world.
Instead of the last judgment, what worries me
is the final dream.

-Joao Cabral de Melo Neto
translation James Wright

The original Portuguese:

O fim do mundo

No fim de um mundo melancolico
os homens leem jornais.
Homens indiferentes a comer larangas
que ardem com o sol.

Me deram uma maca para lembrar
a morte. Sei que cidades telegrafam
pendindo querosene. O veu que olhei voar
caiu no deserto.

O poema final ninguem escrevera
desse mundo particular de doze horas.
Em vez de juizo final a mim me preocupa
o sonho final.

-Joao Cabral de Melo Neto


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