Brazilian Portuguese Love Phrases for The Poetic Heart
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A few decades ago, there was a book called “Amor Brasileiro” by Luis Fernando Verissimo.
In the main article (the book’s namesake), the author discusses the fact that many international celebrities always end up finding a Brazilian love (Madonna, Leo Di Caprio, Simon Conwell, Bernie Ecclestone… the list is long).
But the fact is, it doesn’t happen only with celebrities.
Many of my friends and students are dating or married to Brazilians. And while most Portuguese students can say “I love you” in Portuguese without thinking, they sometimes want to use something more… (significant? steamy?) to express their love.
And I know, I know. If you’re here reading this article, you probably know how to say “eu te amo” in Portuguese.
That’s why I brought some Brazilian Portuguese love phrases taken out from the best poems I could find. So you could add them to your amatory repertoire and make your passes more…
Now you can be way more sophisticated than before and add some literary spice to your relationship.
1. Lyrical Love
“Quem pagará o enterro e as flores
Se eu me morrer de amores?”
(Vinícius de Moraes – A hora íntima)
“Who will pay for the burial and the flower
if I die from love?”
Lovely, isn’t it?
These are the opening and ending lines of a longer sonnet by Vinicius de Moraes, a poet/songwriter more famous for “Soneto de Fidelidade” and “The Girl from Ipanema “.
The poem this quote was taken out from is called “A Hora Íntima”.
If you’re inclined to more lyricism, then the little poet (as he was known in his life) is your go-to source of inspiration for more passionate phrases in Portuguese. You can check his most famous work, O Livro de Sonetos, on Amazon (affiliate link).
And here, you can hear the poet himself reciting his A Hora Íntima:
2. Ardent Love
Te amo ainda que isso te fulmine ou que um soco na minha cara me faça menos osso e mais verdade.
“I love you even if this destroys you or if a punch in my face makes me less bone and more truth.”
This is a movie-worthy line. Just fancy it: grayish, rainy morning; the water is pelting down on them. She holds his hand close to her face. She delivers this line. Silence. Then, they smile.
The poet Hilda Hilst wrote many erotic poems throughout her life.
She was famous in her lifetime but not much — although the themes she covered in her stories and poems were wildly popular, the Brazilian society still holds onto a conservatism that may not show when looking at it from a distance.
And if you want to know her works more intimately, you can check out her first book to be translated into English, The obscene Madame D.
3. Intimate, Pressing Love
O chão é cama para o amor urgente.
Amor que não espera ir para a cama.
Sobre o tapete ou duro piso, a gente
compõe de corpo e corpo a úmida trama.
E, para repousar do amor, vamos à cama.
(Carlos Drummond de Andrade – O chão é cama)
The floor is the bed for the urgent love.
Love that doesn’t wait to reach the bed.
On the carpet or the hard floor, we
weave with our bodies the wet tissue.
And, to rest from love, we go to bed.
The unassuming writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade was born in Minas Gerais. He wrote short stories, poems, and chronicled the everyday life of his time.
Some of his poems became part of the Portuguese language. The most famous line any Brazilian will always recognize is “e agora, José?” and depicts a bleak picture of someone who has nothing else to hope for.
What few people know is that Carlos Drummond de Andrade has a book dedicated to erotic poems, O Amor Natural. It’s highly engrossing. As we say here in Brazil, “mineiro come quieto.” (Mineiro being someone who comes from Minas.)
4. More Lyrical with a Tad of Sadness
Em ti o meu olhar fez-se alvorada,
E a minha voz fez-se gorjeio de ninho,
E a minha rubra boca apaixonada
Teve a frescura pálida do linho.
Looking at you my gaze became morning,
as my voice became the twittering in a nest,
and my red passionate mouth
felt the pale freshness of the linen.
Florbela Espanca was a Portuguese poet. She didn’t live long (1894-1930), but her importance can be felt up to this day.
And she makes for a great source of quotes for Instagram in Brazil.
She’s a prominent feminine voice in the Portuguese language poetry. Her poems explore solitude, suffering, love, and erotism.
And in time: the translation isn’t quite good because the word ‘alvorada’ conveys a lot. It’s the morning that breaks and the hope that comes with it; it’s larger than what the paucity of my English vocabulary can reach.
And if you want to have a sample of what her poetry (not this one) sounds like in music, check out this moving performance of one of her poems:
5. Urgent Love
Se tu me queres, dize-me isso agora,
quando ainda em mim a primavera mora,
quando o meu riso, cheio de energia,
espalha ainda chamas de poesia.
(Giselda de Medeiros – Se Tu Me Queres)
If you want me, tell me now,
while spring lives in me,
when my laughter, full of energy,
still spreads flames of poetry.
The only living poet in our list, Giselda Medeiros was born in my home state (yay!). She is an award-winning writer and member of the Academia Cearense de Letras, something like the real Spanish Academy but local.
Her poem is lyrical and reminds us that love may survive, but it’s better to live it while you’re young — “while spring lives in you” — because later maybe you can’t enjoy it.
And that’s it: with these five poems alone, you’ll have enough Brazilian Portuguese love phrases to use for a long time.
And if you need any more, you can check the books I refer to in the article or head over to our content-rich vocabulary section.
And the last question: what is the most beautiful love phrase that you know in your language? Leave it in the comments section below 🙂