A sonnet to Brazil


This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Brazil.


Much before I was to court a forlorn Brigitte Bardot, in Buzios.
I had to dilly-dally through Rio and its wanton and lascivious carnival.
Those sacoles were wicked; the alcohol was in wicked ratios.
And the camisinhas were a cue or a nudge to everything canonical.

Like the glorious image of Bellini, outside the Maracana gate.
Thousands of Cariocas gathered together; colourfully attired.
They raise their hands, sing, hug, drink, congregate and conjugate.
And amidst cries of ‘Beija, Beija’, many a carnaval kiss they conspired.

Even Olympic Boulevard’s, streets and giant graffiti-laden walls,
Do not do justice to the spectrum of colours in Brazil.
From Santa Teresa and Lipa’s narrow, cultural sprawls,
They oozed to the street, and I gleefully lapped up the spill.

I blended in, and adopted both the colourful tinge, and the lustful demeanour.
Beyond the sugarloaf, I know I am being watched over by Christ the redeemer.




Poet’s notes
1) I visited Brazil during the Carnival of February 2017. And sadly, only to Rio De Janeiro and a little beach town of Buzios (made famous by Brigitte Bardot). This is clearly not enough to write a 14-line poem about a country as vast as Brazil. But I decided to go with the first impressions of the country. Maybe I was premature in writing this, before I have seen the rest of the country. But I will defend this impression, and I hope that is what stays with me forever.
2) Alcohol is an important part of the carnival, and one of the key players is called a ‘sacole’. This is a local freezie, made with Vodka or Caipirinha. Instead of drinking the alcohol, you suck on it. And before you know it, the alcohol gets quite heady.
3) Camisinha is Portuguese for condom. Given the amount of love-making that happens during the carnival, one of the most commonly seen advertisement everywhere, involve using camisinhas. And rightly so.
4) The maracana football stadium has a glorious statue of footballer Hilderaldo Bellini, who was the first Brazilian captain to win a world cup. A pride of the ‘Cariocas’ (as people of Rio are called)
5) During the Carnaval, one of the common events is the so-called ‘beija’ game. When 2 young people of opposite sexes are facing each other, a small crowd could go off shouting, “Beija, Beija”. These 2 may not know each other at all, but they are expected to kiss. A friend once told me that she kisses countless people on a carnaval day. But most of these kisses do not proceed any more than that. Just a kiss.
6) Olympic Boulevard in a stretch of street in Rio De Janeiro, that was painted with graffiti, for the 2016 olympics. Santa Teresa and Lipa are some of the more colorful favelas of Rio. Sugarloaf is a local mountain. And Christ the Redeemer is probably the most famous landmark of Rio.


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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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