As Rosas Não Falam

Lyrics from “As Rosas Não Falam” (The Roses Don’t Talk) by Cartola

Album:  Cartola II (1976)

My heart beats again with hope

Because the summer is coming to an end

Finally

I return to the garden

With the certainty that I should cry

Because I know well that you don’t want to come back to me

I wail to the roses

How silly, the roses don’t talk

The roses simply exude the perfume that they steal from you

You ought to come

To see my joyless eyes

And, who knows, you might dream my dreams

At last

(Repeat)

— Interpretation —

Cartola and Zica in the home they built together in Mangueira, with a rose bush in the garden.

As the story goes, this song was inspired by an exchange between Cartola and his wife, Zica.  Zica planted a rosebush in the couple’s garden in Rio de Janeiro, and after some time passed, she looked out one morning to see the bush in full bloom. Thrilled, she asked Cartola how so many roses had bloomed, and he responded, “How should I know? The roses don’t talk.”

Cartola was inspired by his poetic response and wrote one of his greatest successes as a “birthday present” to himself, a few days before his sixty-seventh birthday.

Although he was a popular sambista since his youth, Cartola never achieved much commercial or financial success, and only recorded his first LP in 1974, at age sixty-five. He said he had been losing motivation – seeing everyone around him recording LPs – and couldn’t even believe he had finally recorded a disk until he held it in his hands.  Moved by the achievement, he eagerly went back to composing and came out with his second LP, with “As Rosas Não Falam,” in 1976.

The main source for this post was Cartola: Os Tempos Idos, by Marília Barboza da Silva and Arthur de Oliveira Filho.

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)

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About lyricalbrazil

My name is Victoria Broadus and in early 2012 I moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Brazil - first São Paulo, and now Rio de Janeiro. I began studying Portuguese while working toward a Master's degree in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, and have since become fluent. I love Brazilian music and want to be able to share it with more people, so I'm working on translating songs to English and providing some contextual interpretation and stories about the songs and the musicians.
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