Hello, dear friends — Olá queridos amigos!
Let’s celebrate spring with a song. How about some jazzy bossa nova?
You’re probably familiar with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s iconic, “The Girl from Ipanema,” which won a Record of the Year Grammy in 1965, but do you know “Águas de Março” (“Waters of March”)?
In addition to composing the music, Jobim wrote both the Portuguese and English lyrics. With its comely central metaphor, these lyrics could also be considered the coolest stream of consciousness list poem ever.
It was inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s rainiest month, when sudden storms and heavy winds cause flooding in some parts of the city.
“The lyrics and music have a constant downward progression much like the water torrent from those rains flowing in the gutters, which typically would carry sticks, stones, bits of glass, and almost everything and anything.”
Let the “Waters of March” wash over you with its refreshing, relentless stream of cleverly juxtaposed images, upbeat tempo, and playful spirit. There’s no stopping the river of life.
WATERS OF MARCH (ÁGUAS DE MARÇO) 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 Afloat, adrift, 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. ~ Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim, 1972
In Jobim’s part of the world, March rains signal the end of summer — cascading waters of daily life moving in its inevitable progression towards death (winter). In the northern hemisphere, however, the spring waters of March signal new beginnings, “the promise of life”; the cascading waters with its litany of details may suggest what is yet to come.
Whether thinking in terms of endings or beginnings, Jobim’s song beautifully speaks of the “joy in your heart”: gratitude for what has been given as well as happiness for fresh possibilities on the horizon. Life, like water, finds and goes its own way.
Released in 1972, “Águas de Março” was named all-time best Brazilian song in a poll conducted with over 200 Brazilian journalists, musicians, and other artists by Brazil’s leading daily newspaper, Fohla de São Paulo. It has been covered by many notable musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Art Garfunkel, Sergio Mendes, Frank Sinatra, Al Jarreau, Cassandra Wilson, and Bono.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share the song (many consider it best as a duet) in its original Portuguese. Here is the iconic rendition featuring Jobim with Elis Regina, recorded in 1974. There is such delight in how they interact. You don’t have to understand a single word of Portuguese to feel the pure, unadulterated joy. ♥️
The lovely and talented Susan Bruck is hosting this week’s PF Roundup at Soul Blossom Living. She’s also collecting links for the National Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Roundup, so if you’re doing a special project this April, be sure to send her your details. I’ll miss doing the NPM Kidlit Roundup this year: unfortunately since mid February I’ve had tech issues with my blog editor. There’s a weird bug that makes the font microscopic. Luckily the public facing font is okay, but writing posts in the editor itself has become more tedious and time consuming. The WP developers are working on a fix, but so far they haven’t come up with one. Big thanks to Susan for taking the reins. Have a nice weekend!!
*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.