English Poems III

Fernando Pessoa

Lisboa, Olisipo ― Apartado 145, Printing Office of the Annuario Commercial ― 24, Restauradores, Lisboa, 1921, 19 pp..

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    English Poems




    [*] First published in 1921 All rights reserved Printing Office of the Annuario Commercial
    24, Restauradores, Lisbon




    Set ope all shutters, that the day come in
    Like a sea or a din!
    Let not a nook of useless shade compel
    Thoughts of the night, or tell
    The mind's comparing that some things are sad,
    For this day all are glad!
    'Tis morn, 'tis open morn, the full sun is
    Risen from out the abyss
    Where last nght lay beyond the unseen rim
    Of the horizon dim.
    Now is the bride awaking. Lo! she starts
    To feel the day is home
    Whose too-near night will put two different hearts
    To beat as near as flesh can let them come.
    Guess how she joys in her feared going, nor opes
    Her eyes for fear of fearing at her joy.
    Now is the pained arrival of all hopes.
    With the half-thought she scarce knows how to toy.
    [4] Oh, let her wait a moment or a day
    And prepare for the fray
    For which her thoughts not ever quite prepare!
    With the real day's arrival she's half wroth.
    Though she wish what she wants, she yet doth stay.
    Her dreams yet mergèd are
    In the slow verge of sleep, which idly doth
    The accurate hope of things remotely mar.


    Part from the windows the small curtains set
    Sight more than light to omit!
    Look on the general fields, how bright they lie
    Under the broad blue sky,
    Cloudless, and the beginning of the heat
    Does the sight half ill-treat!
    The bride hath wakenèd. Lo! she feels her shaking
    Heart better all her waking!
    Her breasts ar with fear's coldness inward clutched
    And more felt on her grown,
    That will by hands other than hers be touched
    And will find lips sucking their budded crown.
    Lo! the thought of the bridegroom's hands already
    Feels her about where even her hands are shy,
    And her thoughts shrink till they become unready.
    She gathers up her body and still doth lie.
    She vaguely lets her eyes feel opening.
    In a fringed mist each thing
    Looms, and the present day is truly clear
    But to her sense of fear.
    Like a hue, light lies on her lidded sight,
    And she half hates the inevitable light.


    Open the windows and the doors all wide
    Lest aught og night abide,
    Or, like a ship's trail in the sea, survive
    What made it there to live!
    She lies in bed half waiting that her wish
    Grow bolder or more rich
    To make her rise as a common day were here.
    That she would be a bride in bed with man
    The parts where she is woman do insist
    And send up messages that shame doth ban
    From being dreamed but in a shapeless mist.
    She opes her eyes, the ceiling sees above
    Shutting the small alcove,
    And thinks, till she must shut her eyes again,
    Another ceiling she this night will know,
    Another house, another bed, she lain
    In a way she half guesses; so
    She shuts her eyes to see not the room she
    Soon will no longer see.


    Let the wide light come through the whole house now
    Like a herald with brow
    Garlanded wound with roses and those leaves
    That love for its love weaves!
    Between her and the ceiling this day's ending
    A man's weight will be bending.
    Lo! with the thought her legs she twines, well knowing
    A hand will part them then;
    Fearing that entering in her, that allowing
    That will make softness begin rude at pain.
    [6] If ye, glad sunbeams, are inhabitèd
    By sprites or gnomes that dally with the day,
    Whisper her, if she shrink that she'll be bled,
    That love's large bower is doored in this small way.


    Now will her grave of untorn maidenhood
    Be dug in her small blood.
    Assemble ye at that glad funeral
    And weave her scarlet pall,
    O pinings for the flesh of man that often
    Did her secret hours soften
    And take her willing and unwilling hand
    Where pleasure starteth up.
    Come forth, ye moted gnomes, unruly band,
    That come so quick ye spill your brimming cup;
    Ye that make youth young and flesh nice
    And the glad spring and summer sun arise;
    Ye by whose secret presence the trees grow
    Green, and the flowers bud, and birds sing free,
    When with the fury of a trembling glow
    The bull climbs on the heifer mightily!


    Sing at her window, ye heard early wings
    In whose song joy's selg sings!
    Buzz in her room along her loss of sleep,
    O small flies, tumble and creep
    Along the counterpane and on her fingers
    In mating pairs. She lingers.
    Along her joined-felt legs a prophecy
    Creeps like an inward hand.
    [7] Look how she tarries! Tell her: fear not glee!
    Come up! Awake! Dress for undressing! Stand!
    Look how the sun is altogether all!
    Life hums around her senses petalled close.
    Come up! Come up! Pleasure must thee befall!
    Joy to be plucked, O yet ungathered rose!


    Now is she risen. Look how she looks down,
    After her slow down-slid night-gown,
    On her unspotted while of nakedness
    Save where the beast's difference from her white frame
    Hairily triangling black below doth shame
    Her to-day's sight of it, till the caress
    Of the chemise cover her body. Dress!
    Stop not, sitting upon the bed's hard edge,
    Stop not to wonder at by-and-bye, nor guess!
    List to the rapid birds i'th' window ledge!
    Up, up and washed! Lo! she is up half-gowned,
    For she lacks hands to have power to button fit
    The white symbolic wearing, and she's found
    By her maids thus, that come to perfect it.


    Look how over her seeing-them-not her maids
    Smile at each other their same thought of her!
    Already is she deflowered in others' thoughts.
    With curious carefulness of inlocked braids,
    With hands that in the sun minutely stir,
    One works her hair into concerted knots.
    Another buttons tight the gown; her hand,
    Touching the body's warmth of life, doth band
    [8] Her thoughts with the rude bridegroom's hand to be.
    The first then, on the veil placed mistily,
    Lays on her head, her own head sideways leaning,
    The garland soon to have no meaning.
    The other, at her knees, makes the white shoon
    Fit close the trembling feet, and her eyes see
    The stockinged leg, road upwards to that boon
    Where all this day centres it revelry.


    Now is she gownded completely, her face won
    To a flush. Look how the sun
    Shines hot and hoe the creeper, loosed, doth strain
    To hit the heated pane!
    She is all white, all she's awaiting him.
    Her eyes are bright and dim.
    Her hands are cold, her lips are dry, her heart
    Pants like a pursued hart.


    Now is she issued. List how all speech pines
    Then bursts into a wave of speech again!
    Now is she issued out to where the guests
    Look on her daring not to look at them.
    The hot sun outside shines.
    A sweaty oiliness of hot like rests
    On the day's face this hour.
    A mad joy's pent in each warm thing's hushed power.


    Hang with festoons and wreaths and coronals
    The corridors and halls!
    Be there all round the sound of gay bells ringing!
    Let there be echoing singing!
    Pour out like a libation all your joy!
    Shout, even ye children, little maid and boy
    Whose belly yet unfurred yet whitely decks
    A sexless thing of sex!
    Shout out as if ye knew what hoy this is
    You clap at in such bliss!


    This is the month and this the day.
    Ye must not stay.
    Sally ye out and in warm clusters move
    To where beyond the trees the belfry's height
    Does in the blue wide heaven a message prove,
    Somewhat calm, of delight.
    Now flushed and whispering loud sally ye out
    To church! The sun pours on the ordered rout,
    And all their following eyes clasp round the bride:
    They feel like hands her bosom and her side;
    Like the inside of the vestment next her skin,
    They round her round and fold each crevice in;
    They lift her skirts up, as to tease or woo
    The cleft hid thing below;
    And this they think at her peeps in their ways
    And in their glances plays.


    No more, no more of church or feast, for these
    Are outward to the day, like the green trees
    That flank the road to church and the same road
    Back from the church, under a higher sun trod.
    These have no more part than a floor or wall
    In the great day's true ceremonial.
    The guests themselves, no less than they that wed,
    Hold these as nought but corridors to bed.
    So are all things, that between this and dark
    Will be passed, a dim work
    Of minutes, hours seen in a sleep, and dreamed
    Untimed and wrongly deemed.
    The bridal and the walk back and the feast
    Are all for each a mist
    Where he sees others through a blurred hot notion
    Of drunk and veined emotion,
    And a red race runs through his seeing and hearing,
    A great carouse of dreams seen each on each,
    Till their importunate careering
    A stopped, half-hurting point of mad joy reach.


    The bridegroom aches for the end of this and lusts
    To know those paps in sucking gusts,
    To put his first hand on that belly's hair
    And feel for the lipped lair,
    The fortress made but to be taken, for which
    He feels the battering ram grow large and itch.
    The trembling glad bride feels all the day hot
    On that still cloistered spot
    [11] Where only her nightly maiden hand did feign
    A pleasure's empty gain.
    And, of the others, most will whisper at this,
    Knowing the spurt it is;
    And children yet, that watch with looking eyes,
    Will now thrill to be wise
    In flesh, and with big men and women act
    The liquid tickling fact
    For whose taste they'll in secret corners try
    They scarce know what still dry.


    Even ye, now old, that to this come as to
    Your past, your own joy throw
    Into the cup, and with the younger drink
    That which now makes you think
    Of what love was when love was. (For not now
    Your winter thoughts allow).
    Drink with the hot day, the bride's sad joy and
    The bridegroom's haste inreined,
    The memory of that day when ye were young
    And, with great paeans sung
    Along the surface of the depths of you,
    You paired and the night saw
    The day come in and you did still pant close,
    And still the half-fallen flesh distending rose.


    No matter now or past or future. Be
    Lovers' age in your glee!
    Give all your thoughts to this great muscled day
    That like a courser tears
    The bit of Time, to make night come and say
    The maiden mount now her first rider bears!
    [12] Flesh pinched, flesh bit, flesh sucked, flesh girt around,
    Flesh crushed and ground,
    These things inflame your thoughts and make ye dim
    In what ye say or seem!
    Rage out in naked glances till ye fright
    Your ague of delight,
    In glances seeming clothes and thoughts to hate
    That fleshes separate!
    Stretch out your limbs to the warm day outside.
    To feel it while it bide!
    For the strong sun, the hor ground, the green grass,
    Each far lake's dazzling glass,
    And each one's flushed thought of the night to be
    Are all one joy-hot unity.


    In a red bacchic surge of thoughts that beat
    On te mad temples like an ire's amaze,
    In a fury that hurts the eyes, and yet
    Doth make all things clear with a blur around,
    The whole group's soul like a glad drunkard sways
    And bounds up from the ground!
    Ay, though all these be common people heaping
    To church, from church, the bridal keeping,
    Yet all the satyrs and big pagan haunches
    That in taut flesh delight and teats and paunches,
    And whose course, trailing through the foliage, nears
    The crouched nymph that half fears,
    An invisible rush, behind, before
    This decent group move, and with hot thoughts store
    The passive souls round which their mesh thay wind,
    The while their rout, loud stumbling as if blind,
    Makes the hilled earth wake wchoing from her sleep
    To the lust in their leap.


    Io! Io! There runs a juice of pleasure's rage
    Through these frames' mesh,
    That now do really ache to strip and wage
    Upon each others' flesh
    The war that fills the womb and puts milk in
    The teats a man did win,
    The battle fought with rage to join and fit
    And not to hurt or hit!
    Io! Io! Be drunken like the day and hour!
    Shout, laugh and overpower
    With clamour your own thoughts, lest they a breath
    Utter of age or death!
    Now is all absolute youth, and the small pains
    That thrill the fillèd veins
    Themselves are edged in a great tickling joy
    That halts ever ere it cloy.
    Put out of mind all things save flesh and giving
    The male milk that makes living!
    Rake out great peals of joy like grass from ground
    In your o'ergrown soul found!
    Make your great rut dispersedly rejoice
    With laugh or voice,
    As if all earth, hot sky and tremulous air
    A mighty cymbal were!


    Set the great Flemish hour aflame!
    Your senses of all leisure maim!
    Cast down with blows that joy even where they hurt
    The hands that mock to avert!
    All things pick up to bed that lead ye to
    Be naked that ye woo!
    [14] Tear up, pluck up, like earth who treasure seek,
    When the chest's rick doth peep,
    The thoughts that cover thoughts of the acts of heat
    This grat day does intreat!
    Now seem all hands pressing the paps as if
    They meant them juice to give!
    Now seem all things pairing on one another,
    Hard flesh soft flesh to smother,
    And hairy legs and buttocks balled to split
    White legs mid which they shift.
    Yet these mixed mere thoughts in each mins but speak
    The day's push love to wreak,
    The man's ache to have felt possession,
    The woman's man to have on,
    The abstract surge of life clearly to reach
    The bodies' concrete beach.
    Yet some work of this doth the real day don.
    Now are skirts lifted in the servants' hall,
    And the whored belly's stall
    Ope to the horse that enters in a rush,
    Half late, too near the gush.
    And even now doth an elder guest emmesh
    A flushed young girl in a dark nook apart,
    And leads her slow to move his produced flesh.
    Look how she likes with something in her heart
    To feel her hand work the protruded dart!


    But these are thoughts or promises or but
    Half the purpose of rut,
    And this is lust thought-of or futureless
    Or used bus lust to ease.
    Do ye the circle true of love pretend,
    And, what Nature, intend!
    [15] Do ye actually ache
    The horse of lust by reins of life to bend
    And pair in love for love's creating sake!
    Bellow! Roar! Stallions be or bulls that fret
    On their seed's hole to get!
    Surge for that carnal complement that will
    Your flesh's young juice thrill
    To the wet mortised joints at which you meet
    The coming life to greet,
    In the tilled womb that will bulge till it do
    The plenteous curve of spheric earth renew!


    And ye, that wed to-day, guess these instincts
    Of the concerted group in hints
    Yourselves from Nature naturally have,
    And your good future brave!
    Close lips, nude arms, felt breasts and organ mighty,
    Do your joy's night work rightly!
    Teach them these things, O day of pomp of heat!
    Leave them in thoughts such as must make the feat
    Of flesh inevitable and natural as
    Pissing when wish doth press!
    Let them cling, kiss and fit
    Together with natural wit,
    And let the night, coming, teach them that use
    For youth is in abuse!
    Let them repeat the link, and pour and pour
    Their pleasure till they can no more!
    Ay, let the night watch over their repeated
    Coupling in darkness, till thought's self, o'erheated,
    Do fret and trouble, and sleep come on hurt frames,
    And, mouthing each one's names,
    They in each other's arms dream still of loce
    [16] And something of it prove!
    And, if they wake, teach them to recommence,
    For an hour was free hence;
    Till their contacted flesh, in heat o'erblent
    With joy, sleep sick, while, spent
    The starts, the sky pale in the East and shiver
    Where light the night doth sever,
    And with clamour of joy and life's young din
    The warm new day come in.
    LISBON, 1913.