I alone – Fernando Pessoa

Ah, só eu sei 

Ah, só eu sei
Ah, só eu sei
Quanto dói meu coração
Sem fé nem lei,
Sem melodia nem razão.

Só eu, só eu,
E não o posso dizer
Porque sentir é como o céu,
Vê-se mas não há nele que ver.


I know, I alone

I know, I alone
How much it hurts, this heart
With no faith nor law
Nor melody nor thought.

Only I, only I
And none of this can I say
Because feeling is like the sky -
Seen, nothing in it to see.

Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa, Portugal, 1932.

Words and feelings

There has been a hiatus in my writing. At times, my articulations remain scattered in scruffy notebooks or stored for fermentation in the imaginitive bank we call memory. Continual movement and the tiredness that ensues have created a reluctance to engage with any additional activity when my time could simply be empty. Today is different, and I have space for some more fullness.

Of late, my experiences are being condensed most accurately into poetry. Prose has felt too bloated. Poetry seems to be offering me a greater possibility of expressing and sharing this mysterious human journey of refinement and regeneration. This comes as a surprise – I never imagined myself writing poetry, but then out it came. Free from the burden of considering myself ‘a poet’, I can simply enjoy this wonderful act of conjuring and composing with words.

There has been so much to witness, with copious amounts of outright insanity on display in mainstream society. The pace has been fast, and my tendency towards haste has not been to blame. Generous swathes of time have been required to integrate and stay on point. I have drawn particular inspiration from my avian friends of the pacific northwest, who show such serene stillness and unquestioning patience in their pursuits.

Then she flew away, leaving her shadow carved into the wood.

For those of us currently without wings, we are invited to board the full spectrum flight of feeling. We are encouraged to embrace our strange and singular ride – a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity. The only chance for you to be you and for me to be me.

Words now come after feelings. They allow me to unpack and share what I know through feeling. At times, writing helps me to create a tapestry from disparate threads. I am no longer lost in the minutia of personal detail. I can zoom out. I can mold the nebulous into something with form.

Putting the brain aside in order to make contact with the reality of the world is not an easy assignment, especially for those accustomed to using the intellect as a weapon for slashing their way into tomorrow. But this is the task at hand, and the machetes of the mind must be retired. As the role of words shifts and the predominance of my grey matter lessens, my faith in feeling as the primary means of knowing grows.

Slowly slowly slowly, I know that I can feel and I feel that I can know.

Every day over

I greet the new day
with each beat of my heart
and with every unfolding breath.
I move with its rhythm of grey into yellow, 
I feel through its texture and depth. 

As corners and contours invite seek and find, 
in content infused with the word, 
the dawn checks my compass is bearing true north, 
in devotion that leaves the soul stirred. 

My task is to ask am I true enough,
listening, am I yet one who can hear?
And every day over
and over
and over
faith trumps the next pale, cornered fear. 

At times this fine spiral of growth hits a curve, 
leaving apathy, loathing and doubt. 
Then bearing up, 
knuckling down, 
falling to rest, 
a slice of false self is cast out. 

With sunrise comes fresh chance of turning the wheel, 
as love's lesson quenches my thirst. 
And every day over
and over
and over
gratitude, humbleness first. 


Completed on 21st June 2019, Summer Solstice.