Standing at Fearful Attention

Standing at fearful attention, we’re grateful 
to fear, which keeps us from going mad.
Decision and courage are bad
for our health; life without living is safer.

Adventurers whose adventures are history,
standing in fear we struggle against
ironic ghosts in our ongoing quest
for what we never were and won’t be.

Standing in fear with no voice of our own,
our heart ground up by our teeth, we are
the madmen, we’re our own ghosts.

A flock of sheep pursued by fear,
we live so together and so alone
that life’s meaning has disappeared.

Alexandre O’Neill (1962) , Translation: 1997, Richard Zenith

Perfilados de medo, agradecemos
o medo que nos salva da loucura.
Decisão e coragem valem menos
e a vida sem viver é mais segura.

Aventureiros já sem aventura,
perfilados de medo combatemos
irónicos fantasmas à procura
do que fomos, do que não seremos.

Perfilados de medo, sem mais voz,
o coração nos dentes oprimido,
os loucos, os fantasmas somos nós.

Rebanho pelo medo perseguido,
já vivemos tão juntos e tão sós
que da vida perdemos o sentido . . . 

© 1962, Alexandre O’Neill
From: Poesias Completas
Publisher: Assírio & Alvim, Lisbon, 2000

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