Out of step

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
 
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
 
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy (1874)
Photo taken at Black Mamba – Burgers & Records, a very cool vegan burger place in Porto

I do not know what

My world is not like the world of other people, I want much more, I demand much more, there is inside me a thirst for the infinite, a constant anxiety that I do not even understand, because I am far from being a pessimist; first I am an exalted one, with an intense soul, violent, tormented, a soul that does not feel well where it is, that misses… I do not know what!

Florbela Espanca (Correspondence, 1930)

 

 

Monday’s poetry came late to me this week

When Soft Voices Die

Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory;

Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap’d for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Missing my road trips

Spain was a taut, dry drum-head
Daily beating a dull thud
Flatlands and eagle’s nest
Silence lashed by the storm.
How much, to the point of weeping, in my soul
I love your hard soil, your poor bread,
Your poor people, how much in the deep place
Of my being there is still the lost flower
Of your wrinkled villages, motionless in time
And your metallic meadows
Stretched out in the moonlight through the ages,
Now devoured by a false god.

All your confinement, your animal isolation
While you are still conscious
Surrounded by the abstract stones of silence,
Your rough wine, your smooth wine
Your violent and dangerous vineyards.

Solar stone, pure among the regions
Of the world, Spain streaked
With blood and metal, blue and victorious
Proletarian Spain, made of petals and bullets
Unique, alive, asleep – resounding.

What Spain Was Like, Pablo Neruda

The time will come

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Love After LoveDerek Walcott

Silence is the place where you scream

Chego atrasado à frisa dos teus olhos.

A música violeta pestaneja na sala.

Há uma actriz transida que tirita

              transita

                                   mas não fala.

Entro no teu olhar

                                    Sou uma seta

que te cega e nos cala.

O silêncio é o sítio onde se grita

e a noite, minha amiga,

é mais discreta

como convém ao poeta

que se veste de gala.

 

O Smoking, José Carlos Ary dos Santos

 

I am late to the frieze of your eyes.

The violet music blinks in the room.

There is a transient actress who

               transits

                                    but does not speak.

I enter your gaze

                                     I’m an arrow

who blinds you and keeps us silent.

Silence is the place where you scream

and the night, my friend,

is more discreet

as befits the poet

who dresses up.

 

The Smoking, José Carlos Ary dos Santos ( my imperfect translation)

Photo: Written on the wall, Braga (November 26, 2017)

The Greater Sea

My soul and I went to the great sea to bathe.  And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.

“This is the pessimist,” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet.  There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejeweled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist,” said my soul, “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”

Further on we walked.  And on a beach we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.

“And we cannot bathe before him,” said my soul.  “He is the humane philanthropist.”

And we passed on.

Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it.  But he went on tracing it again and again.

“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”

And we walked on, till in a quiet cover we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.

“He is the idealist,” said my soul, “Surely he must not see our nudity.”

And on we walked.  Suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea.  This is the deep sea.  This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.

And my soul said, “Let us pass on.  He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”

So we passed on.  And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand.  And I said to my soul, “We can bath here, for he cannot see us.”

“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all.  He is the puritan.”

Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.

“Let us go hence,” she said, “For there is no lonely, hidden place where we can bathe.  I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my sacred nakedness.”

Then we left that sea to seek the Greater Sea.

 Kahlil Gibran, The Greater Sea 
Photo: Peniche, October 2017