31 julho 2016


Os britânicos acarinham com particular afeição os seus poetas da Primeira Guerra Mundial. Aquele conflito terá sido o primeiro em que a sensibilidade dos combatentes da frente de batalha se tornou publicável. Foi uma nova forma sofisticada, e só tornada possível pela alfabetização crescente das pessoas, de sintetizar numa sublimação artística aquilo que se vivia na frente. Depois, nos conflitos posteriores, a tecnologia terá tornado esta forma de expressão e de comunicação obsoleta. A poesia da Segunda Guerra Mundial terá uma importância muito inferior à que tivera na Primeira, para não falar já dos conflitos posteriores onde o audiovisual acabou por assumir uma importância quase hegemónica, mesmo num Portugal que seguia a outro ritmo (Adeus, até ao meu regresso!). A poesia de guerra, os poemas das trincheiras, são um fenómeno quase exclusivo da expressão dos nossos antepassados de há 100 anos, embora eu não conheça casos correspondentes em português (embora não descarte que os tenha havido, desapercebidos). Este livro acima, comprado apropriadamente no Imperial War Museum de Londres, contém uma colectânea de poemas escolhidos de 15 poetas (os nomes constam da contracapa, acima). Deles escolhi os três que costumam ser referidos com mais destaque: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) e Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967). Repare-se que os dois primeiros morreram durante a Guerra e acrescente-se que não encontrei na internet traduções aceitáveis das suas obras, daí esta publicação de um poema de cada um deles no original.

(Rupert Brooke)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
(Wilfred Owen)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

(Siegfried Sassoon)
We'd gained our first objective hours before
While dawn broke like a face with blinking eyes,
Pallid, unshaved and thirsty, blind with smoke.
Things seemed all right at first. We held their line,
With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed,
And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench.
The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs
High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps
And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud,
Wallowed like trodden sand-bags loosely filled;
And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair,
Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime.
And then the rain began,— the jolly old rain!

A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
Staring across the morning blear with fog;
He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
And then, of course, they started with five-nines
Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud.
Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst
Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
Sick for escape,— loathing the strangled horror
And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

An officer came blundering down the trench:
'Stand-to and man the fire-step! 'On he went...
Gasping and bawling, 'Fire- step...counter-attack!'
Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
Down the old sap: machine- guns on the left;
And stumbling figures looming out in front.
'O Christ, they're coming at us!' Bullets spat,
And he remembered his rifle...rapid fire...
And started blazing wildly...then a bang
Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans...
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.
Estas mesmas elites britânicas também puderam mostrar, 75 anos passados, a mesma criatividade mas agora expressa de outro modo, associada àquele humor blasfemo que tanto as celebrizou na segunda metade do século XX. Da quarta série de Blackadder (Blackadder Goes Forth), THE GERMAN GUNS declamado pel(e da autoria d)o soldado Baldrick (abaixo) tornou-se uma obra poética apócrifa e medíocre que terá vindo a rivalizar em notoriedade com as demais...

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