Spotlight on: Para Os Braços da Minha Mãe by  Pedro Machado Abrunhosa, for Mother’s day

Isn’t it everyday that we remember our mothers ? I do. I  reassured myself yesterday when I told my Mother, she was to be my mother for the rest of forever. Growing older brings better perspective on parents that you begin to appreciate, for while they grew older with you, they too learned life, as they taught you to live. It’s the self centeredness of offspring, that we feel entitled to parents as agents to our making. Yes, no one asks to be born, yet life is really the forging of facets, through aspects within these filial relationships that create us all.

A place where we definitely do remember Mother is when we are at our bleakest, when life contorts us into a foetal display of sorrow, real or imagined. It was the same for Pedro Machado Abrunhosa perhaps, when he wrote this beautiful poem/song that I have blogged about today. A Portuguese singer, songwriter, musician and composer, he is also the co-founder of the Jazz School of Porto, and this song is not so much about his mother, as about his need of her in a dark melancholy.

The song (translations from Portuguese below), is evocative of Saudade, a nostalgic longing for a time and place the poet wishes to retreat to, when at his lowest. The word itself is quite indefinable, untranslatable, yet as described here at NPR [1], the concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again. The author recounts her favorite definition of Saudade, as by Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo: “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.

The song, Para Os Braços da Minha Mãe, rings in the melancholy similar to Fado, it sings of Saudade. It is as beautiful as the leaves of fall drifting down in the logical aftermath of an autumnal senescence, but makes sense only to the poet in us all, that we see colour, Saudade and poetry, making everything so abstract and illusory, complex and so human.

Pedro Machado Abrunhosa speaks eloquently of his poetic process, of his songwriting : ‘For me, an album is more and more like a book; a continuous narrative of mixed-up stories which come together in the music I write, the characters I create – sometimes tormented, other times content – and in the feelings of loss and defeat that a lot of people can relate to. I speak about myself through the voices of others but I substitute myself for them using my own voice. Ever since becoming a musician, I always looked to improve the simplicity of that which truly fascinates me: writing songs. Whatever music I make is just that: my life expressed though lyrics and harmony. If listeners can relate to it too then my job is done and I can hit the road with the next album in mind.’ [2]

Pedro Abrunhosa – “Para os Braços da Minha Mãe” com Camané (Gravado ao Vivo)
Into My Mother's Arms

I reached the bottom of the road
Two leagues of nothing
I don't know what strength keeps me
Germany is so gray
And I miss you so much
And summer never comes again
I want to go home
Embarking on a wing stroke
Stepping on the red-hot earth
That night is coming
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms

I brought some soil
Smells like pine and saw
Flying doves
At the eave
I turned twenty on the floor
Amsterdam night
I bought love
By the newspaper
I want to go home
Embarking on a wing stroke
Stepping on the red-hot earth
That night is coming
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms

I came in a bullet pass
A diploma in the suitcase
I left my love behind
It's so cold in Paris
I am already memory and root
Nobody leaves where there is peace
I want to go home
Embarking on a wing stroke
Stepping on the red-hot earth
That night is coming
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms
I want to go back
Into my mother's arms

Translated at Google Translate

I am not one for nostalgia, being embedded too far away into the future that isn’t here yet. My poems though, do speak of memories that are past but I never reminisce as a way to bring them back as much as to appreciate them. Unfortunately, beautiful memories are like gemstones we adorn ourselves with, but painful ones are like wounds that scar into tissue, we carry along with us into the present. Is that the reason for human discontent I wonder, wounds and scar tissue. There are many ways people deal with scars, painful experiences or even a bleak present. They wear it like a badge of honour, or a sacrificial sack cloth, sometimes patch it over with foundation, blush or simply deny it even exists. They rush to retreat, cling, forgive, forget or transmute, even as they reach for God, or a hallucinogen or a hobby/work/passion. It intrigues me, how poetic it all really is. I find this beautifully lyricized in the way Abrunhosa speaks of longing for the comfort of his mother’s arms as he comes of age on a bathroom floor perhaps, a fledgling leaving the nest yet yearning for a foothold into the past, leaving love, looking for love, embracing an inevitable future, leaving the safety of mother, the womb, the salient beginning for a nebulous hereafter. The present in his song is cold, hazy, full of endings and a red hot earth at night. I love the poetry of this piece, accompanied by the sound of Saudade in his voice. It does not require much translation, the human voice that tunes in melancholy across the varied tongues of Babel.

Para Os Braços da Minha Mãe,

Cheguei ao fundo da estrada
Duas léguas de nada
Não sei que força me mantém
É tão cinzenta a Alemanha
E a saudade tamanha
E o verão nunca mais vem
Quero ir para casa
Embarcar num golpe de asa
Pisar a terra em brasa
Que a noite já aí vem
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe

Trouxe um pouco de terra
Cheira a pinheiro e a serra
Voam pombas
No beiral
Fiz vinte anos no chão
Na noite de Amsterdão
Comprei amor
Pelo jornal
Quero ir para casa
Embarcar num golpe de asa
Pisar a terra em brasa
Que a noite já aí vem
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe

Vim em passo de bala
Um diploma na mala
Deixei o meu amor pra trás
Faz tanto frio em Paris
Sou já memória e raiz
Ninguém sai donde tem paz
Quero ir para casa
Embarcar num golpe de asa
Pisar a terra em brasa
Que a noite já aí vem
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe
Quero voltar
Para os braços da minha mãe

Original at LyricsFind

Watch and listen:

References:

[1]~https://www.npr.org/sections/altlatino/2014/02/28/282552613/saudade-an-untranslatable-undeniably-potent-word

[2]~https://www.abrunhosa.com/en/biography

My Blog, my old comrade.

I know I left without a word,

No explanation of why or where.

But I return, only to find you so unconditionally accepting,

Of everything I have to say.

.

You listen so well,

Reflect all that is of me.

Although melancholy today,

I am happy with the visage I see of me, in you.