Judith Teixeira translated by Samantha Pious

As the Sun dies

against the red horizon line, the mountain,
a sleeping giant, utterly inert,
has the vague, drowsy air of someone who
has slept a thousand years upon this earth

the trees, their naked branches opening
out toward the blue, already cold and dim—
their blackened, rotting trunks bowed down in prayer
toward the exiled Sun declining at the rim

far off, the ravens, fond of telling tales,
have gone to spread the news through hills and vales
of giants turned by magic into stone

the wind, bewildered, shrieking over the plain,
sobs through the mountains, echoing the pain
of those who wander through this life alone

October 1922.

“Quando o Sol morre,” in Castelo de Sombras, 1923.

link to video 

More Kisses

another kiss another still
your gaze, mysterious and mild,
came to blow
the tropical storm
that drives my thoughts so wild

another kiss
let me, maddened, set alight
your lips
and dominate your life

yes, love
let this brief moment
be prolonged
that my desire, as it rises,
may take red flight
and lead us on

May 1925.

“Mais Beijos,” in Nua: Poemas de Bizâncio, 1926.


night comes on, above the mountain range
now is the hour of the vanquished and the scarred
far away, a grove of swaying trees
takes on new aspects, twisted and bizarre

in funeral litanies, as though in prayer,
down from the mountains, shadowy and stark,
come ominous birds, wings beating in the air,
above the couples sleeping in the dark

hour when the most vicious curses rise
when churchbells, far away, are imprecise
voices of anguish and of misery

hour of neurasthenia, of despond
hour when I know that you live on,
in this nostalgia for a greater agony

Fall 1922.

“Crepúsculo,” in Castelo de Sombras, 1923.

Judith Teixeira (1880–1959), who wrote in Portuguese, was perhaps the only bisexual women poet to participate openly in Lisbon’s modernist literary scene. Her civil status—born to a single mother in the provincial city of Viseu, divorced at age thirty-three by her first husband, and remarried the following year to the grandson of a viscount—had already made her the subject of scandal. But still more scandalous was the sexually transgressive writing she published under her own name only a few years before the rise of the Salazar dictatorship.

Samantha Pious is a translator, poet, editor, and medievalist with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Her verse translations of Renée Vivien are available as A Crown of Violets (Headmistress Press, 2017); her translation of Christine de Pizan’s One Hundred Ballades of a Lover and His Lady is forthcoming.