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Weekend Listening: Águas de Março (Waters of March)

May 8, 2010

A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road, it’s the rest of a stump, it’s a little alone

It’s a sliver of glass, it is life, it’s the sun, it is night, it is death, it’s a trap, it’s a gun

The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush, a knot in the wood, the song of a thrush

The wood of the wind, a cliff, a fall, a scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all

It’s the wind blowing free, it’s the end of the slope,
It’s a beam, it’s a void, it’s a hunch, it’s a hope

And the river bank talks of the waters of March,
It’s the end of the strain, the joy in your heart

The foot, the ground, the flesh and the bone,
The beat of the road, a slingshot’s stone

A fish, a flash, a silvery glow, a fight, a bet, the range of a bow

The bed of the well, the end of the line,
The dismay in the face, it’s a loss, it’s a find

A spear, a spike, a point, a nail, a drip, a drop, the end of the tale

A truckload of bricks in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun in the dead of the night

A mile, a must, a thrust, a bump,
It’s a girl, it’s a rhyme, it’s a cold, it’s the mumps

The plan of the house, the body in bed,
And the car that got stuck, It’s the mud, it’s the mud

A float, a drift, a flight, a wing, a hawk, a quail, the promise of spring

And the riverbank talks of the waters of March,
It’s the promise of life, It’s the joy in your heart

A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road
It’s the rest of a stump, it’s a little alone

A snake, a stick, it is John, it is Joe,
It’s a thorn in your hand and a cut in your toe

A point, a grain, a bee, a bite, a blink, a buzzard,
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle, a sting, a pain, a snail, a riddle, a wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains, a horse and a mule,
In the distance the shelves rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks of the waters of March,
It’s the promise of life in your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone, the end of the road, the rest of a stump, a lonesome road

A sliver of glass, a life, the sun, a knife, a death, the end of the run

And the riverbank talks of the waters of March,
It’s the end of all strain, it’s the joy in your heart.

“Waters of March” (Portuguese: “Águas de Março”) is a Brazilian song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The lyrics, originally written in Portuguese, do not tell a story, but rather present a series of images that form a collage.  In both the Portuguese and English versions of the lyrics, “it is a stick, a stone, a sliver of glass, a scratch, a cliff, a knot in the wood, a fish, a pin, the end of the road,” and many other things, although some specific references to Brazilian culture (festa da cumeeira, garrafa de cana), flora (peroba do campo) and folklore (Matita Pereira) were intentionally omitted from the English version, perhaps with the goal of providing a more universal perspective. All these details swirling around the central metaphor of “the Waters of March” can give the impression of the passing of daily life and its continual, inevitable progression towards death, just as the rains of March mark the end of a Brazilian summer. Both sets of lyrics speak of the water being “the promise of life,” perhaps allowing for other, more life-affirming interpretations, and the English contains the additional phrases “the joy in your heart” and the “promise of spring,” a seasonal reference that would be more relevant to most of the English-speaking world. (Wikipedia)

(Video: Elis Regina)

-N.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2010 8:25 pm

    This is one of my all time favorite songs…thanks for the post.

  2. May 10, 2010 3:13 am

    That is absolutely beautiful, thank you! I haven’t listened to this song in years. My favorite part of the video is at the end when she laughs. Perfect.

    • May 10, 2010 5:38 am

      This is definitely one of my all time favourite Bossa Nova songs, too. I can listen to this over and over again and never get bored of it.
      -N.

    • William permalink
      May 15, 2011 8:33 am

      If one pays close attention one can understand what is causing her laughter (and smile a bit earlier).

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