I Would Write A Eulogy To Sleep


I take comfort in these reflections,
since I can’t take comfort in life.

Others live in the rural towns and villages of
a Portugal inside me; they come to the city
where I sometimes run into them,
and I open wide my arms with emotion.

To feel today what one felt yesterday isn’t
to feel—it’s to remember today what was felt yesterday
to be today’s living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost.

To feel that you’re superior and to be treated by Fate as supremely and incurably inferior—who in such a plight can boast
about being a man? Were I ever granted a ash of expressive power so great that it concentrated all art in me
I would write a eulogy to sleep.

The harsh sadness of the heavy rain accentuated the air’s ugly black hue.

We had forgotten this,
all of us,
all who knew him in the same way as all those who never met him.

And we will become subtly and profoundly
indifferent towards all of life’s setbacks and calamities.

We were so voluptuously embodied in the presence of
the statues and in the English layout of the paths.

With each passing day I feel that much more incompetent even
to trace gestures or to conceive myself in clearly real situations.

—José Rasteiro, Collected Odes