As Monday’s Verse charges into its 20th year…
Apologies for my absence a couple weeks there. My west coast MV swing in the fall ended with a night at my home-away-from home, Jeff & Tara’s place in the Mission, San Francisco. Or, as Tara always calls it, Frisco. There, I ate one of the best steaks of 2016. In some impossibly hip, slightly overpriced, local-sourced eatery? No, in Tara’s kitchen. People, when the instructions say let the steak rest for 10 minutes, they mean it.
A couple weeks back, necessarily, we read Yeats’s "The Second Coming." Here’s the same theme — world history, dreams, slumber, monsters, circularity — by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). Pessoa published only 1 book of poems in Portuguese during his life, and 3 in English. He is famous for his use of "heteronyms," like pseudonyms, but with a fully-developed poetic voice and persona for each name. He employed 4 main ones in his work, but used over 70.
Where Yeats let the wakened beast pull his sonnet into a sonnet-and-a-half, here Pessoa uses a unique 7-7 stanza split for a regular old sonnet. A sonnet from the Portuguese? -ed.
ANTEMANHA / DAWN
The monster at the end of the seas
Came from the shadow to seek
The dawn of the new day,
Of the new day without cease;
And said: "Who doth sleep remembering in peace
That the Second World it did reveal,
But the Third it refuses to seize?"
And the sounds in the darkness of it going round
Disturb the sleep and it confound,
The servant monster circled and went
Because its master for it came and found.
Because its master came and called aloud–
Called to He once Lord of the Sea
And who now slumbers in a sleep profound.
-July 8, 1933