Posted in English

Orphans of Marx

“Órfãos de Marx” from “É Tudo Uma Questão de Tempo” by José Jorge Letria

Orphans of Marx

(Roughly translated on the train)

We had never read Marx

But we talked as if we were heirs

Of the old German jew who wrote in London

The general theory of that vast utopia

That would finally make us

Fighters for the most generous of illusions:

The transformation of the world

In the end, what did we transform?

We believed that the books,

The murals and the closed fists

Opened doors to a better age.

Many gave up, others wound up owing to

Marxism the shattering revelation

Of their first great passion, fleeting and suffocating.

Sometimes we sat on the benches

Of the avenue named after Liberty

Drunk on dreams and purpose

And we even proselytised the sparrows and pigeons

For our romantic struggle.

And we discovered that among us

Were scoundrels and even worse,

Because its not the quality of the belief

That makes the quality of the believer

Now that my second grandchild

Is on the way and the first

Has the most beautiful smile in the world

I can’t shake off the mournful question:

Where did we go wrong? Who failed in our name?

What will I have to say to them

When they ask me: grandpa, was it you

In this picture, trying to change the world?

If I knew now where old Marx

Ended up, I would want to know

If it’s possible to reach happiness

Through the class struggle.


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