Battling the forces of evil. Some poetry for a Friday morning. Pardon the religious overtones, it’s still a beautiful poem. If it helps, it is about a saint, so those are inevitable.
A warrior saint.
FERNANDO INFANTE DE PORTUGAL
Deu-me Deus o seu gladio, por que eu faça
A sua santa guerra.
Sagrou-me seu em honra e em desgraça,
As horas em que um frio vento passa
Por sobre a fria terra.
Pôs-me as mãos sobre os ombros e doirou-me
A fronte com o olhar;
E a esta febre de Além, que me consome,
E este querer grandeza são seu nome
Dentro em mim a vibrar.
E eu vou, e a luz do gladio erguido dá
Em minha face calma.
Cheio de Deus, não temo o que virá,
Pois, venha o que vier, nunca será
Maior do que a minha alma – Fernando Pessoa.
D. Fernando, Infant of Portugal
G-d gave me his gladius, that I make
His Holy War
He anointed me His in honor and disgrace
At the hours in which a cold wind blows
Across the cold Earth
He put His hands on my shoulders And gilded
My brow with His glance;
And this fever for Beyond that consumes me
This striving for greatness
Are His name
Vibrating within me
I go, and the light of the lifted gladius falls
Upon my calm face
Full of G-d I fear not what shall come
For come what might
It will never be
Larger than my soul. – Fernando Pessoa
And since I’m in a poem mood, I tried and failed to find my copy of my one book of Reiner Kunze’s poem, so this is just a vague allusion to his poem for which he should not be blamed. Though it was a favorite and I memorized it at one point, it is a 30-year old poem in German. Take it as such. The clumsiness is mine.
I couldn’t find a copy on line. Somehow it has gotten confused with another poem and that’s what Good Reads lists the title as for a poem that’s actually Abundance From An Empty Creel.
For any brilliance in this, credit Kunze. For any clumsiness, blame me and my memory which I’m sure misremembers and mistranslates things. But what I remember is this:
Things of Clay
We wanted to be like things of clay
Going to the tables of humble people
Working for those who
At five in the morning
Drink coffee in the kitchen.
We shall be as the shards
Of things of clay
Never again whole
A glimmer in the wind.