On Fear


For the time being we won’t sing of love,

which has fled beyond all undergrounds.

We’ll sing of fear, which sterilizes all hugs.

We won’t sing of hatred, since it doesn’t exist,

only fear exists, our father and our companion,

the dread fear of hinterlands, oceans, deserts,

the fear of soldiers, fear of mothers, fear of churches,

we’ll sing of the fear of dictators, of democrats,

we’ll sing of the fear of death and what’s after death,

then we’ll die of fear,

and fearful yellow flowers will sprout on our tombs.


Carlos Drummond de Andrade

International Symposium on Fear

Translated from Portuguese by Richard Zenith.