When the Soul’s Been Widowed

     […]When the soul’s been widowed
     From what it cannot tell, feeling’s blind[…]
     Like something true that lies to us,
     Like some overwhelming wish deceiving us.


Let our palms weep victorious
     applause for lions born in cages,
     those of us unknown, they say it’s
     just a phase, this rage chained inside of
     what’s often called our restlessness;
     for moments that reek of centuries,
     we have sucked off perjuries from
     vagrant bones we have licked and welcomed

     past our lips, down into poems
     whose labyrinth lines, without knowing
     it, have shown them through lies that trust
     comes in thick torrents to collect its
     payment—that even imprisoned,
     men free to become entertainment
     choose such lucrative enslavement;
     a comfort when the soul’s been widowed.

Fuck idealism, don’t trust what isn’t;
     a crowd positions opinions, sits
     in its own shit, and proclaims this
     portion of our torment its district—
     each creeping eye makes exclusive
     our mistakes—taking fists of peace’s
     furiously broken silence;
     taking pictures of our suffering,

     as though pain were a performance
     wife hate takes captive—an audience
     craving her flavour will pour salt
     into their wombs, just to conceive what
     such barren minds cannot—assaults
     senses knock senselessly; unopened
     doors, feeling’s blind windows lock out
     all comfort when the soul’s been widowed.

1Fernando Pessoa, “It’s raining. There is silence, since the rain itself”, lines 3–4 and 13–14, translated from the Portuguese and edited by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown in Poems of Fernando Pessoa, San Francisco: City Lights, 1998; page 172. Written on October 2, 1933 and first published as, “Chove. Há silêncio, porque a mesma chuva”, lines 3–4 and 13–14, in Poesias de Fernando Pessoa [Poetry of Fernando Pessoa], Lisboa [Lisbon]: Ática, 1942; page 188: “[…]Quando a alma é viúva / Do que não sabe, o sentimento é cego[…] / Como uma coisa certa que nos minta, / Como um grande desejo que nos mente.”