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Aguas de Marco

Elis Regina PhotoWelcome Spring!  Aguas de Marco, or Waters of March is perhaps the most beautiful and uplifting Brazilian song ever, certainly in the bossa nova tradition.

Two great youtube versions:

Lyrics and commentary below from Belavistario.  Highly recommend that you listen while reading the lyrics (or just listen).

Waters of March Lyrics: English Version: “Aquas de Marco” by Antonio Carlos Jobim

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.

Note: You will note that the English translation of Aquas de Marco  lyrics is longer than the original Portuguese version. Jobim added lyrics to the song when it made the transition to English. If you speak Portuguese, you will also notice that some of the English lyrics bear no resemblance to the original lyrics. For example, the beautiful fourth stanza more properly translates to “It is wood that resists the wind, the falls of the riverbank, it’s the profound mystery, it’s wanting or not wanting.” You can find more faithful (but perhaps less lyrical) translations, such as this one or this one. In each case, however, both the original lyrics and translations are flawed. Regarding the original lyrics, trust those offered at the Jobim fan site (which are the ones offered on this page).

This translation is a little better, (and you can read about the results of selecting the best Brazilian song of all time … guess first, of course). Regrettably, no translation can do justice to the original lyrics. You’ve just got to learn Portuquese

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