Friday Poem: 'Maritime Ode'

16 March 2018

A Friday poem by Álvaro de Campos, selected by Rhidian Brook. 

Alone this summer morning on the deserted wharf,
I look towards the bar, I look towards the Indefinite,
I look and am glad to see
The tiny black figure of an oncoming steamer.
It's still far away but distinct, classic in its own way.
It leaves a useless trail of smoke in the air far behind it.
It's coming in, and the morning with it, and here and there
Along the river maritime life begins to stir:
Sails are hoisted, tugboats advance,
Small boats jut out from behind the ships in the harbour.
 

 

Álvaro de Campos is one of the many heteronyms of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa who, after growing up in South Africa, spent the majority of his adult life as a writer and commerical translator in Lisbon. 

In this video, Rhidian Brook shares how he first discovered the poem and why it resonates with him. Rhidian's new novel, The Killing of Butterfly Joe, is published in hardback, ebook and audio now. 

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