Saturday, October 02, 2010

Late September

Storm brewing
Ad eternum

The mail truck goes down the coast
Carrying a single letter.
At the end of a long pier
The bored seagull lifts a leg now and then
And forgets to put it down.
There is a menace in the air
Of tragedies in the making.

Last night you thought you heard television
In the house next door.
You were sure it was some new
Horror they were reporting,
So you went out to find out.
Barefoot, wearing just shorts.
It was only the sea sounding weary
After so many lifetimes
Of pretending to be rushing off somewhere
And never getting anywhere.

This morning, it felt like Sunday.
The heavens did their part
By casting no shadow along the boardwalk
Or the row of vacant cottages,
Among them a small church
With a dozen gray tombstones huddled close
As if they, too, had the shivers.

--- Charles Simic ---


Salvador said...

Este cielo gris de un septiembre tardío, nos habla de luces y sombras, y de vez en cuando, y de repente:

Faz-se Luz

Faz-se luz pelo processo
de eliminação de sombras
Ora as sombras existem
as sombras têm exaustiva vida própria
não dum e doutro lado da luz mas no próprio seio dela
intensamente amantes loucamente amadas
e espalham pelo chão braços de luz cinzenta
que se introduzem pelo bico nos olhos do homem

Por outro lado a sombra dita a luz
não ilumina realmente os objectos
os objectos vivem às escuras
numa perpétua aurora surrealista
com a qual não podemos contactar
senão como amantes
de olhos fechados
e lâmpadas nos dedos e na boca

Mário Cesariny, in "Pena Capital"

Claudia said...

Que poema fabuloso e bem escolhido do Mário Cesariny. Obrigada, Salvador, por acrescentares valor ao meu blog.

Karen said...

A really evocative poem. I'm curious about where the photos were taken.
Your post on Porto made me full of saudades. My parents had good friends, Diogo and Marta Campo Belo (he was the Conde de Campo Belo - I'm not sure if he's still alive) whose beautiful house and garden had stunning views overlooking the river. My husband and I stayed with them shortly after we got married, 20 years ago. They had a private chapel at the house, to which a priest still came to celebrate mass for Diogo's ancient mother - it was a glimpse into another era! - and we never forgot their warmth to us. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

Claudia said...

Karen, I usually use my Flickr photos in this blog. Clicking on the photo takes you to Flickr, where there's usually a bit more info on each photo. These two photos were taken in Costa da Caparica, near Lisbon, in February.

Trulyfool said...


Mr Simic, never too much of him.

A satirist would deal with the similar by scratching off a barb about the fleeting opportunism of human relationships, la! Ha! Ha! Where's my 'little black book'?

A sentimentalist (like so many we can read throughout the blogosphere?) would open the personal wound as though the operating theater were televised.

This Simic poem catches that moment when the fulcrum of one's life shifts. Letter sent, something having been 'felt' at a distance, the cause for that premonition just about to catch up with its effect.

All told in the common imagery of a mail route and familiar surroundings and an unconcerned nature.

He's a master.

Claudia said...

And yours is a masterly interpretation, Trulyfool. Thank you.

rauf said...

oh Claudia, when i say i don't like,
i don't know why i don't like
i have to know why i don't like. And i have to explain and i can't

ok you don't like it, tell me WHAT you don't like here

i don't know, i don't like it

Claudia said...

I can certainly understand why you don't like it rauf, it's a grimly foreboding poem. It can bring on a headache or a pang of anxiety in more sensitive people.

Ruth said...

You are lucky, Claudia. rauf never ever comments when I post poems. It's good to see a reaction out of him. :)

I like this a lot actually. Especially . .

It was only the sea sounding weary
After so many lifetimes
Of pretending to be rushing off somewhere
And never getting anywhere.

Claudia said...

Ruth, I feel privileged to receive rauf's attention (and yours!).

The lines you quote are particularly beautiful. Sometimes when I'm watching the ocean I feel this exact same timeless weariness.