Two Poems: To Monsoon Butterflies

By Joseph Furtado


To monsoon butterflies

Welcome, pretty butterflies
Coming gaily through the skies.
In a distant land I roam,
You are coming from my home.

You are coming from the south.
Come now kiss me on the mouth.
You did kiss my little one
While he played out in the sun.

Come then kiss me on the mouth,
You are coming from the south.

Come, my beauties, bring us rain,
Come and gladden hill and plain.

He it was had told me all —
With your coming rain must fall.

Come now kiss me for his sake,
Take a thousand kisses, take
Father dear is dead and gone,
I am left here all forlorn.

Come then kiss me for his sake,
Take a thousand kisses, take.

The neglected wife

(A Goa Song)

Three years this day — nor more nor less —
Though married I have been,
I know not yet what marriage means,
And now I’m past eighteen,
And this young age creates a rage
Of such desires, upon my breast
This end of saree will not rest.

My husband he to Bombay went
Now three years but a day
He writes so seldom, never writes
When home return he may,

While all declare I’m young and fair,
But what is beauty, youth to me
Deprived of love and liberty?
On Sundays, when to church I go,
For love, not God, I yearn,
The young men there they smile to me
And I their smiles return.

May God forgive the life I live,
But when I think upon my lot
I can’t suppress the sinful thought.

I went last week to a wedding feast,
The young man I dined beside
And danced with too he danced and said.
“I would you were my bride!”

I felt so glad, I felt so sad,
But felt too shy to make reply
And tear on tear came to mine eye.

This morning I confessed in hopes
Some comfort I might win
A fool was I!—the cold old priest
Sees naught besides my sin.

I feel so sad, I feel so bad,
May God upon me pity take —
I feel my heart is like to break.

Banner picture courtesy Selma Carvalho.


Joseph Furtado's (1872-1947) first book My Country Charms was followed nine years later by his poetry collections Lays of Goa and The Goan Fiddler, published in England in 1927, which received international acclaim and caught the eye of Sir Edmund Gosse. The Desterrado (The Exile) appeared too in London. In 1928, Furtado produced two manuscripts, Golden Goa!, a work of historical fiction, and a book of poems Songs in Exile. These are to be released soon, posthumously, entitled, The Collected Works of Joseph Furtado, edited by Rochelle Potkar and published by CinnamonTeal Publishing. Although considered an English language poet, Furtado also left behind substantial works in Portuguese.