A Poem for Dia da Saudade

I was intrigued by the Brazilian Dia da Saudade, which was roughly translated as “Longing for What is Absent Day” so I went in search of a poem which might illustrate the feeling, and found “Before” by Ada Limón, which I hope is true to the feeling of Saudade.


Ada Limón (1976 – ) is the author of Lucky Wreck (Autumn House Press, 2006), The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She splits her time between Lexington, Kentucky, and her home town, Sonoma, California.


To read Ada Limón’s poem “Before” please click here:



by Ada Limón

No shoes and a glossy
red helmet, I rode
on the back of my dad’s
Harley at seven years old.
Before the divorce.
Before the new apartment.
Before the new marriage.
Before the apple tree.
Before the ceramics in the garbage.
Before the dog’s chain.
Before the koi were all eaten
by the crane. Before the road
between us, there was the road
beneath us, and I was just
big enough not to let go:
Henno Road, creek just below,
rough wind, chicken legs,
and I never knew survival
was like that. If you live,
you look back and beg
for it again, the hazardous
bliss before you know
what you would miss.

“Before”  © 2015 by Ada Limón


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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2 Responses to A Poem for Dia da Saudade

  1. Malisha says:

    Oh …
    I had never heard of this holiday or the concept of this holiday.
    Yet it was terribly apt today.
    The first Brazilian woman I ever met is a bereft mother living in Massachusetts. She came here on a visitor’s visa in the early 2000’s and had a baby with an American man who later was described in court as an “anti-illegal-immigration activist.” To make a horrible long story short, I’ll just say she was deprived of her son. She is fighting off being deported and may be permanently separated from her child for no reason having to do with her as a mother or his best interests. I wrote to her this morning, hoping this day will be the last dia da saudade that she has to endure this longing for her child. And the last Saudade that he has to long for his mother.
    I would never have known about the day, had you not sent us this poem.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      What cruelty and betrayal, and its seems like it was calculated and deliberate. Some people really are evil.

      I hope she gets to stay in the U.S., and gets her son back. It’s clearly the man who’s unfit to be a parent.

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