Hail Marys 1ST Verse from : The Feeling of a Westerner
When evening falls across our streets
And sullen melancholy fills the air,
The Tejo, the tang, the shadows and bustle
Bring me an absurd desire to suffer.
The sky hangs low and seems all hazy;
The gas from the streetlamps makes me queasy;
The tumult of buildings, chimneys and people
Is cloaked in a dullish, Londonish hue.
Oh lucky travellers in hired coaches
Now hieing to the railway station! Countries
And exhibitions file past me: Madrid,
Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg, the world!
The timber frames of future buildings
Resemble cages for keeping animals;
Like swooping bats the carpenters leap
From beam to beam at the sound of the bell.
Clusters of callous, tar-smeared caulkers
Return from the slipways, coats on their shoulders;
I wander through alleys that lead to the river
Or walk by the wharves where boats are docked.
I evoke the ocean chronicles: the Moors,
Old vessels and heroes – all resurrected!
Shipwrecked Camões swims his book to shore!
Great carracks that I’ll never see ride the waves!
The twilight inspires, and also disturbs me!
An English battleship launches its cutters
While swank hotels on land bedazzle
With china and flatware clinking at dinner.
Two dentists argue inside a streetcar;
A clumsy clown is struggling on stilts;
Children flit, like cherubs, on balconies;
Hatless, bored shopkeepers wait at their doors!
The shipyards and workshops are emptying out;
The river glints thickly, the workwomen hurry;
And a black school of Herculean fishwives
Bursts out of nowhere, joking, laughing.
Wagging sumptuous hips they come!
Their manly torsos remind me of pillars;
And some, in the baskets on their heads,
Rock sons who’ll one day drown in storms.
On frigates – barefoot! – they unload coal
From dawn to dusk, then crowd together
In a neighbourhood where cats meow
And the rotting fish breed infection!
Poem by Cesário Verde (February 25, 1855 – July 19, 1886)